North Korea is one of the most reclusive nations on the planet with people outside the country not knowing what goes on there. So, what would communication be like under the Kim Jon-un regime?
"Sorry, your call is restricted," says an automated voice from KoryoLink, the North Korean wireless telecommunications provider, when foreign nationals try to make local phone calls, which are not allowed, according to Will Scott, an American academic. Scott taught computer science at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.
After his teaching stint at North Korea, Scott, a former Google employee, has detailed a ton of its technological advances at various conferences including the Redstar 3.0. Now he has recreated what standard recorded messages in the country sound like for subscribers of KoryoLink on his website.
Scott says he got a local cell phone subscription in the fall of 2015 and it was rather expensive. It cost him around $85 (£68) just for the call service and another $128 for the data service. After that a monthly subscription for just 50MB of 3G data comes for a steep $12.
Scott, however, says except for the cost, the service proved to be better than he expected with very few filters and censorship. The service was even better than China's, he said.
It is to be noted here that the connection Scott got is rather limited and difficult to get hold of. He had to fill out a special form by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
KoryoLink, which claims to have 3 million subscribers, has only pre-recorded messages for subscribers who had issues with the connection. Although the network has recorded bilingual messages it does not offer much of a phone support service, as there was no human operator online at least when Scott tried. He had to physically make a trip to the KoryoLink office to resolve his problems.
Locals, however, are said to have a different, parallel service that only has access to North Korea's miniature version of the internet, with no external internet service according to Motherboard. In the past, Amnesty International has accused Kim Jong-un of using phone and internet networks to control the North Korean population.
"It was kinda fun that they had the whole phone tree set up," Scott told Motherboard in an online chat. "I don't know how many people ever called it, but I thought it was a neat artifact worth preserving."