Do you want to use your phone in Korea with a prepaid SIM Card?
No worries! We’ve got you covered. 😉
Before getting a SIM Card…
First, you should check whether your phone is unlocked or not. If your phone is locked, then you should call your mobile service provider to unlock it or you can use your provider’s roaming service (but it’s expensive, so we advise not to use it).
Also, here’s a reminder for travelers from US or Canada to Korea. Some of the devices from your country may not have a SIM Card slot, so please check it before traveling.
Second, make sure your device supports WCDMA 2100 MHz frequencies. Take note that most Korean networks run as 3G and 4G.
1. Where to Buy a SIM Card
The most convenient and the easiest way to buy a SIM Card is to buy it online. If you have to buy it offline, don’t worry. You can purchase it at major convenience stores, Incheon Airport or Korean mobile service provider stores (KT, SKT, LG).
Convenience stores are the easiest places to buy a SIM Card. Small convenience store chains like Mini Stops or Family Mart sometimes don’t have enough inventories, so we strongly advise you to visit major convenience store chains like GS25, CU or Seven Eleven.
2. Choose the Right SIM Card Type
If you are using iPhone (iPhone 5/5S/6/6S), Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy 6 or up, then you need to get a Nano SIM Card. If you are using Galaxy 3/4/5, Huawei, HTC Desire, HTC Sensation, you should get a Dual SIM Card (micro+standard SIM). The price varies depending on each type of SIM Card (Nano SIM card is more expensive than the Dual SIM Card).
Nevertheless, we highly recommend you to buy a USIM Card (Universal Subscriber Identity Module Card), a universal type which is compatible with phones using standard, micro and nano SIM. Seriously, USIM Card saves all your work!
After choosing the right SIM Card, decide how much you want to top up. You may find the same type of SIM Cards but with different prices. When you buy a SIM Card for the first time, the price includes the fee for the card and the rest of the amount will be for topping up.
For example, if you buy a card with the price of 30,000 won, the fee of the card is 10,000 won and the rest of the amount is the top-up.
3. Activate a SIM Card
When you purchase a SIM Card, you also get a manual including how to activate the card. Follow the manual to activate the SIM Card.
Make sure to turn on and off your phone several times when you first put the new SIM Card in your phone. (+ Also if you buy EG SIM Card, you can find an application which helps you to activate and top-up your card.)
4. Recharge Your SIM Card
After using all the money you topped-up the first time, you can recharge the SIM Card. There are also many ways to recharge it.
First, go to the convenience store and ask the staff to recharge it for you. You don’t have to buy a new SIM Card. If you pay the money to the staff, he/she will give you a receipt with the numbers. You should call there to let them know you paid for recharging.
Third, use an App to recharge it. Follow the instructions on the App and you will be able to recharge the SIM Card easily.
The most frequently used SIM Card company is EG SIM Card. And this is the image of the application of EG SIM Card. Online purchase for EG Sim Card is available here.
If you want to buy not only a SIM Card but also a new phone, we recommend you to drop by Yongsan Digital Mall. On the 8the floor, there’s a store where you can buy a used phone or a new phone with a prepaid SIM Card.
Which SIM Card Should I Buy?
If you only need to use data and want to make voice calls, here’s a SIM Card that provides you 1GB of 3G data and voice calls. For those of you who want to get connected 24/7 in Korea with a data-only SIM card with an unlimited 4G LTE data usage, find more details here.This Unlimited LTE Data Package is provided by the largest wireless operator in Korea, KT (Olleh). You can also share the internet connection with other devices via tethering.
If you are planning on staying in Korea for more than a month, then this long-term prepaid 4G-LTE SIM card is a better option.With this SIM card plan, you can enjoy phone calls, text messages and 4G/LTE data for up to 90 days.
It’s highly recommended for long-term travelers as well as international students visiting Korea for an exchange program. The purchase is available here.
If you want to use Wi-Fi instead of a SIM Card
If you don’t have to make voice or phone calls or send text messages, then buying a WiFi Egg or a Wi-Fi router, is the best option for you. If you want to rent one, click here.Read more: SIM Card vs Wi-Fi Router: Which Mobile Internet Option Should You Use When Traveling in South Korea?
If you want to buy an Egg instead of renting it, you will need an alien registration card. It will be your ID card in Korea so it would be better to get your ID proved. Take a look at our tips on getting an alien card from our previous blog post here.
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