Does North Korea Have Internet?
Does North Korea Have Internet?
WiFi in North Korea
How Can I Use the Internet in North Korea?
How Much Does Internet in North Korea Cost?
North Korean SIM Card
Internet in North Korea Internet Access
International Calls in North Korea
Yes, it is possible to get on the internet in North Korea and post that photo to IG, tag yourself in Pyongyang on Facebook or just send your family a message of ‘having a good time, miss you!’ through Whatsapp.
To clarify, though, they have two networks for the internet in North Korea.
There is also WiFi in North Korea - although extremely limited.
The two networks for internet in North Korea include;
Chances are low of getting on to North Korea’s Kwangmyong, so for the purpose of this, we will only talk about getting on the World Wide Web internet in North Korea as a foreign visitor.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is WiFi in North Korea.
To date (March 2020) there are 3 known access points of WiFi in North Korea (see below).
WiFi in North Korea is not the quickest or the best for access, however, it is surprisingly good.
You should not rely on being able to access WiFi in North Korea during your North Korean tour due to limited accessibility. It’s best to let family and friends know you will be out of the internet world for the duration of your trip. And if you do manage to find WiFi in North Korea, it’s a bonus!
But recommended is to enjoy the social media detox.
There are four ways you can get onto the internet in North Korea.
Internet in North Korea isn’t the cheapest internet in the world.
And it’s certainly not the easiest to access.
Whilst internet in North Korea is available, its availability is limited - and often very expensive when it is available.
Pyongyang Casino in Yanggakdo Hotel
In the Pyongyang Casino, you need to place a minimum bet of $20 USD before they will provide you with their WiFi password. If you don’t continue to play or lose all of that money straight away, chances are they will kick you out. Was that Instagram post really worth $20 USD?
Pothonggang Hotel WiFi
The Pothonggang Hotel WiFi costs 10 RMB per 10 minutes.
Pyongyang Airport WiFi
Pyongyang Airport WiFi costs 2 EUR for up to 30 minutes.
North Korean SIM Card
A North Korean SIM card costs 250 EUR. This is just for the SIM card, with no subscription fee or usage costs included. It requires prepayment, so you need to keep it topped up;
The monthly subscription fee is around 20 EUR per month which includes 200 free minutes a month to other phones on the North Korean foreigner's phone network.
Data costs around 20 EUR per 50 MB (yes megabytes, not gigabytes). We did say the internet in North Korea is expensive…
Can You Tell Me More About the North Korean SIM Card?
The North Korean SIM card is for the Koryolink network and as mentioned can only be purchased at two locations – Pyongyang Airport arrivals hall (next to the non working ATM), and the Koryolink Shop located in the lobby of the Pothonggang Hotel.
You should not rely on being able to get a North Korean SIM card since the KoryoLink may not be staffed when you arrive at the airport. If you are coming in by train and want to get a North Korean SIM card and are on a group tour, this probably won’t be possible due to time constraints - unless you are on a private tour. If you are on a private tour, let your North Korean guides know as soon as you arrive that you wish to buy a North Korean SIM card and they will assist.
You may have to skip something on the previously planned itinerary for this, though, as it takes time. It is not a quick process and takes at least 20-30 minutes to have all the paperwork & payment sorted, and be online.
The network allows you to call other phones also on the foreigner’s network and uses 3G technology for data to help you access the internet in North Korea. In Pyongyang, reception is generally good, but once you leave the capital reception becomes poor and there are parts of the country with no coverage for foreigners especially in places near the border with South Korea and China.
Due to its prohibitive cost and incomplete network coverage we don’t recommend tourists invest in a North Korean SIM card. If you have a vital need though to be online & connected as much as possible and can afford the expense then you are welcome to obtain one.
Let us know well before your tour if you need to obtain one so we can do our best to assist you with the process.
What Can I Access on the Internet in North Korea?
North Korean internet access is good.
However, there are some sites blocked. This includes some social media channels, South Korean websites, anti-DPRK and pornographic websites. However, this changes regularly. It was only in late 2018/2019 that Instagram was blocked, for example.
Google is not blocked though (automatically better than China’s internet) and VPNs can be used to access blocked websites.
Some websites and apps sometimes can stop working without warning or reason, but again having a VPN will help.
If you are thinking of buying a North Korean SIM or looking to use the internet in North Korea, make sure to download a VPN before you go to North Korea. If you try to download it in North Korea, you will be faced with massive fees from the KoryoLink SIM or waste most of your time trying to download a VPN on your 10 minutes of Pothonggang Hotel WiFi.
What if I Just Want to Let My Family Know I'm OK?
As WiFi in North Korea is only found at a few locations and the local SIM is very expensive, the best way to stay in touch with your family and friends is to call from your hotel.
Most hotels in North Korea offer international calls either from their international communications centre or from your hotel room.
Check the cost of making international calls before doing so as the cost does vary between hotels, and ensure to pay your phone bill straight away.
For those that live in South Korea, be aware that you cannot call South Korean phone numbers from North Korea.