Foreigners in North Korea are reportedly no longer able to access the internet via 3G mobile phones, an announcement from the country’s sole mobile provider, Koryolink, revealed.
While North Koreans are not able to access the full internet, foreigners and visitors have been allowed to buy 3G SIM cards which remain largely unrestricted.
According to a statement seen by Reuters, Koryolink sent a notice to its subscribers in English on Friday afternoon stating: “Unfortunately, we are facing internet service outage from the local internet provider’s side with no estimated time, we will keep you posted once the service is back to normal.”
It remains unclear why the measures have been introduced, but the move comes a day after Pyongyang’s high-profile Koryo Hotel caught fire, according to Reuters sources.
At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that the fire led to the network closure.
North Korea rarely allows its residents to access uncensored internet, and the government has also introduced restrictions on foreigners wishing to access 3G in the past. Subscriptions bought by visitors also only tend to last for the duration of their visas.
According to GSMA Intelligence, North Korea has just over 2.5 million connections, which is forecast to grow to more than 3 million by the end of 2016.