North Korea's sole 3G operator Koryolink may have shut down operations as a result of international sanctions over the nation's ongoing nuclear testing.
Koryolink's owner, Egypt's Orascom Telecom is preparing to withdraw from the company as it faces mounting pressure from the US and UN Security Council to comply with the sanctions, according to a UPI report.
The report itself cites a Japanese article that cites Japanese intelligence officials and unnamed industry sources. The sources say that Koryolink's customers have been transferred to state-run GSM operator Byol.
Orascom holds a 75% stake in Koryolink with the remaining 25% owned by the North Korean government. The operator reportedly racked up around 3.5 million customers. Orascom has revealed it invested around $250 million in its North Korean operations.
While Orascom had hoped to continue its operations in North Korea within the framework of the international sanctions, the Japanese report suggests that the company has given up on these ambitions as a result of international pressure.
But it adds that Orascom has yet to officially announce its withdrawal from the market due to needing more time to smoothly handle exit procedures.
Orascom first entered the North Korean market in 2008, but has reportedly faced difficulty withdrawing its earnings from the operations as a result of the sanctions.