According to the Chosun Ilbo, the number of cell phone users in North Korea has topped 1,500,000, and North Korea’s mobile carrier, Egypt's Orascom, received a 3-year extension of its monopoly so the current contract will continue until 2015.
Naguib Sawiris, the President of Orascom Telecom Media & Technology, explained in an email interview with Forbes that North Korea has more than 1,500,000 cell phone users. Pyongyang, 15 main cities, and 100 other small and medium-sized cities make up the regions connected to the network. Also, since late last year, the number of users has increased rapidly, and it is expected that the number of users will reach 1,700,000 by the end of this year.
Sawiris also said that the investment in and construction of the Ryugyong Hotel has recently been completed. After the death of Kim Jong-il, he visited North Korea twice, and he said that North Korea's streets are well set up and there are many cars, but the North Korean regime is hesitant on reforms so reforms are slow in happening.