The Ministry of the National Defense Republic of Korea on Monday began to conduct a three-month pilot program to allow all rank-and-file soldiers to use their mobile phones after daily duties before it decides whether to implement it, the defense ministry said.
According to a report by Yonhap News, since April last year, it has expanded the number of military units, whose soldiers are allowed to use their mobile phones, in phases. The pilot program that started Monday involves all soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
South Korea’s military previously strictly forbade any smartphone inside military units.
Until now, cell phones have been deemed a security issue and have been forbidden to members of South Korea’s armed forces.
Monday’s implementation of the pilot program came after the military began in February to allow rank-and-file soldiers to go off base after work for four hours on weekdays up to twice a month, a measure to help them communicate with society better and ensure sufficient rest in advance of military maneuvers and drills.
Under the measure, soldiers are to keep their individual phones at designated places and be allowed to freely use them at all on-base places except for high-security areas between 6:00 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on holidays.
The use of cell phones, which had been banned for security reasons, for filming photos and videos, and recording sound are prohibited.