Contrary to popular belief and the many outdated travel guides, you can bring your phone to North Korea. Prior to 2012, your phone would be either left at either the airport if you were flying into Pyongyang, or at Sinuiju train station if you were taking the train into Pyongyang. Nowadays, you simply declare it as part of your belongings at customs, and you bring it in as usual.
That being said, your phone is a media device, and if you have prohibited things stored on your device such as materials against the DPRK, their ideology, their leaders, or pornography – you risk having it deleted at best, or your phone confiscated at worst. Here’s everything you needed to know about using a smartphone in North Korea
Can I take pictures with my phone in North Korea?
You can take pictures, selfies and videos with your phone in North Korea. There are regulations that abide to photography with phones the same as an ordinary camera. Most North Koreans have cell phones now, with cameras that they like to take pictures with!
Regulations on taking photos in North Korea
Photos of North Korean military, construction sites are strictly prohibited. If you are visiting the DMZ photos of the soldiers at the Joint Security Area is fine. During your tour your YPT and local Korean guides will give you the ‘go ahead’ and the ‘no- no’ zones for taking photos – it is crucial to follow their requests. If you have any questions during the tour please let them know and they will be happy to assist.
Will my phone have a roaming connection in North Korea?
Your phone will not be able to access any roaming network during your stay in North Korea. There is one telecommunication company in North Korea called Koryolink that offer foreigners working or living in North Korea access to 3G but do not have any roaming agreements with any other international operators.
Our YPT guides have access to a Koryolink sim card and are constantly connected to the internet, and able to make and receive international calls in case of an emergency.
Can you phone North Koreans with your Koryolink sim card in North Korea?
Whilst it is possible to access a North Korean sim card, foreigners and local North Koreans are kept on two different networks and are unable to directly contact each other.
How does the cell phone network work in North Korea?
Telecommunications in North Korea area is quite complicated, with the country having 3-4 cellular networks, not just Koryolink, which is often stated by the media.