Orascom Reaches 800,000 Users

The number of people signed up to North Korea’s domestic cell phone network had reached 809,000 by the end of September, representing a 169% increase in subscribers year-on-year, according to Egyptian provider Orascom Telecom.

Orascom Telecom’s third quarter earnings report asserts that as a result of the growth, Koryolink, the partnership Orascom runs with the North Korean authorities, saw revenues of $41,491,000 in the third quarter, a 125% increase over $18,445,000 in the same period of 2010.

However, the figures are distorted by the vast difference between the official and black market exchange rate. Orascom calculates its earnings figures according to an official exchange rate of 135 won/$, whereas the black market exchange rate in Pyongyang on November 14th was 4000 won/$.

Orascom also stated that its service is now available via 453 base stations in Pyongyang and 14 other major cities, 86 towns and along the fringes of 22 major roads.