Getting SIM cards and wifi in North Korea

There is limited wifi connectivity in North Korea. SIM cards are available. For both, accessibility and cost may be an issue.

Previously when you visited North Korea you needed to leave your phone at the border for collection upon your departure. This is no longer the case except for land crossings to Sinuiju for one or two days. For information on connectivity in North Korea, we have relied on the tour experts there, Koryo Tours (whose tours we also covered in this post). As information on this topic is scarce, if you have any experience please leave a comment below to help fellow travellers.

SIM cards for North Korea

Foreign SIM cards will not offer connectivity in North Korea. There is a local SIM card which connects to the 3G KoryoLink network. It allows Internet access (subject to local restrictions), international calls and calls with other foreigners on the same network in North Korea.

The card is on sale at Pyongyang airport and several other locations in Pyongyang. The initial cost is approximately US$200, in hard currency, which includes 50MB of data. The card is pay as you go, meaning it must be topped up for use using either scratch cards or payment through the Narae card point of sale machines, which are widespread. A monthly fee of around US$20 is deducted from the balance, unless you buy a single-use SIM which does not attract this fee.

Wifi in North Korea

Connection to the Internet (as opposed to the domestic intranet) via wifi is available and currently active at the casino in the basement of the Yanggakdo Hotel. There is now a wifi service in Pyongyang at large but it is for locals not visitors (it requires a local SIM) and connects to the intranet not the Internet. It is possible to send e-mails from the Yanggakdo and Koryo Hotels at a cost. Additionally, some visitors have reportedly used their mobile phones on wifi networks in hotels such as at the coffee shop in the Pottonggang Hotel to send and receive e-mail. However, these wifi networks are usually turned off.

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