12/23/2008

Egyptian Cell Service Introduced in North Korea

I had the displeasure of visiting North Korea on a few occasions. Maybe on my next trip I will be able to use my cell phone.

The Egyptian company, Orascom Telecom, announced that it is investing $400mil in North Korea to develop a 3G Mobile Network. CHEO Technologies, which is 75% owned by Orascom and 25% owned by North Korea, won a 25-year-license to operate the network.

The network went online today. Orascom noted that service will be expanded to most major cities by the end of the year.

It is puzzling why this company would invest in North Korea. At present, most North Koreans are not allowed to own phones and the Internet is strictly controlled. Also, I hope Orascom realizes that they have no remedy for contractual breaches and North Korea is not known for honoring contracts.

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SeanHayes@ipglegal.com