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Mongolia: Telecommunications
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Telecommunications


In 1921 Mongolia nationalized postal and telecommunications services -- then Russian-owned, Chinese-owned, and Danish-owned -- and placed them under the Postal and Telegraph Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With Soviet assistance, Mongolia extended telephone and telegraph lines between 1923 and 1930, inaugurated motorized intercity mail delivery in 1925, and began radiobroadcasting in 1934 and television broadcasting in 1967. Since the 1920s, Soviet aid -- including technical assistance, investment, and training -- enabled Mongolia to create national postal and telecommunications networks as well as to establish international communications links. In the 1980s, the Ministry of Communications, which ran the postal and the telecommunications systems, emphasized expanding and upgrading the telecommunications services and facilities to create a unified communications system. This system included telephone, telegraph, telex, radio, and television; it still relied on cooperation and assistance from the Soviet Union and other Comecon countries.

In 1985 Mongolia's telephone, telegraph, and telex system included 420 postal, telephone, and telegraph offices; 28,000 kilometers of telephone and telegraph lines; and 49,300 telephones. The Ministry of Communications was working to introduce a unified digital data-transmission system, to upgrade the telephone system to an automatic-switching network, to increase the length of multiplex telephone channels, and to establish a land-based mobile telephone network using earth satellite facilities. Radio-relay lines provided intercity and international, direct-dialing telephone links. Telex lines connected Ulaanbaatar with Irkutsk and Moscow.

(English-language sources on the Mongolian economy are few; a substantial literature exists in Russian, but little in that language, or in Mongol, has been translated into English. In English the best source on Mongolian economic affairs published since 1970 is chapter 4, "The Economic System," in Mongolia: Politics, Economics, and Society by Alan J.K. Sanders. Articles by Sanders in the Far Eastern Economic Review [Hong Kong], in scholarly journals, and in other reference publications often deal with economic topics. Judith Nordby's "The Mongolian People's Republic in the 1980s: Continuity and Change" treats economic policies and problems. Michael Kaser's "The Industrial Revolution in Mongolia" deals with Mongolian industrialization, as does Alois Holub's "Mongolia: Modernizing the Industrial Structure." "Manpower Policy and Planning in the Mongolian People's Republic," by M. Lkhamsuren, examines labor resources. William E. Butler's The Mongolian Legal System: Contemporary Legislation and Documentation includes Mongolian legal documents and commentary touching upon economics. Asian Survey and the Far Eastern Economic Review's Asia Yearbook contain annual surveys of developments in Mongolia, including economic developments. Other sources for Mongolian economic affairs are the Foreign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report: East Asia; the Joint Publications Research Service Mongolia Report, Mongolia [Ulaanbaatar]; and the Russian-English-French edition of National Economy of the MPR for 65 years, 1921-1986. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography).

Data as of June 1989

Last Updated: June 1989

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mongolia was first published in 1989. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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