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North Korea's cell phone users triple

Mobile tally and GDP growth suggest rising living standards, but truth unclear

SEOUL -- The number of cell phone users in North Korea has more than tripled in five years to 3.61 million in 2016, South Korea's national statistical office said Friday.

The figure marked an 11% year-on-year increase, Statistics Korea said, based on materials from the International Telecommunication Union, a specialist agency of the United Nations. The tally has grown steadily since 2009, the first year of available data.

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