Survival Tip: All about SIM Card in South Korea! (Prepaid SIM Card for foreigners)

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 that 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 & the easiest way 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).korea-sim-card-mobile-voiceUsually, a convenience store is the easiest place to buy a SIM Card, but sometimes small stores don’t have enough inventories so we advise you to visit a big one. (GS25 and CU are two of the most famous and biggest convenience stores in Korea.)%5BGS25%5DGS25_이용할_때_할인%2C_적립_팁_._정보_모음

2. Choosing 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 the type of the SIM Card for your device (Nano SIM card is more expensive than the Dual SIM Card).

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After choosing the type of the 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.)E_AbouEGSIMCard

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.

Second, directly call the SIM Card company to recharge it. However, you need to have an alien registration card to prove your identity. It provides English service.제목 없음

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.

Looking for unlimited 4G Data?

korea-sim-card-unlimitedFor 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.prepaid-sim-card

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

In case you just want to use Wi-Fi instead of a phone call or text message, then buying a WiFi Egg or a Wi-Fi router, is the best option for you. If you want to rent one, click here.wifi-koreaRead 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.

Find this blog helpful? Then stay tuned and follow this blog! Or visit Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, Trazy.com, for the most up-to-date travel information and destinations in South Korea.button31

17 thoughts on “Survival Tip: All about SIM Card in South Korea! (Prepaid SIM Card for foreigners)

  1. Pingback: Prepaid SIM Cards VS Pocket WiFi South Korea: Which Is Best? – TRAZY.COM

  2. Sara

    Is there a pre-paid SIM card where the data is usable after the first 30 days unlike EG SIM? I travel to Korea several times a year and would prefer to not have to buy a card every time a I go.

    1. All the pre-paid SIM Cards have an expiration date, so you will have to buy the SIM Card every time you visit Korea. While the EG SIM Card can be used up to 30 days and is rechargeable, there is a prepaid 4-G LTE Data SIM Card, which is suitable for long-term foreign visitors to Korea, and you can use it up to 90 days after activation. Perhaps this can be a good option for you if you travel to Korea frequently. Please refer to the link for details: https://goo.gl/LOfZw0.

  3. Hi, I’m looking for a post paid SIM card that is less the 7,000won per month with 100mins of calls and 500mb of data. My Korean partner has one with annextel but it’s not available for foreigners. Are there options for us foreigners who want to live in Korea permanently?

  4. Eloise

    Hey! I will be going to Seoul shortly as an exchange student for four months. The 90 sim care you linked sounded ideal, however I will be in Korea for more than 90 days. Are there any other sim cards that you could recommend? I am mainly looking for data, yet messaging/call options would be great too! Thanks 🙂

    1. Hello Eloise! We believe that buying this long-term prepaid 4G-LTE Data SIM card is the best option since you are staying more than 90 days. 🙂 This one is catered to international students and long-term travelers staying in Korea, which allows you to make phone calls and use text messages and 4G/LTE data for up to 90 days. You can top up the balance at the customer center near Hongik University or any GS25, CU or 7-Eleven convenience stores around you. Since you are staying more than 90 days, you will have to extend the expiration date and you can do that by visiting the customer center with your alien registration card and change the SIM Card before the expiration date. The phone number will remain the same, so no worries. Hope this answers your question, and if you wish to make a purchase, here’s the link: https://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/prepaid-data-sim-card-international-student 🙂

  5. Gynn Leow

    Hello,

    I’m planning to get the Prepaid 4G-LTE Data Sim Card for International Students. Can I check what do you mean by making sure the phone is unlocked? Personally I don’t have a passcode on my phone so is that ok?

    Also, I will be extending the usage to 120 days instead of the default 90 days. Can I ask at what additional price will the extension cost?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hello, Gynn Leow! Please refer to the below for your inquiries:
      1. Lock is meant to ensure that the phone can’t be used on any other operator’s network. If you would like to use your phone in other countries, you have to make sure your phone is a unlocked phone. You can simply check by calling the carrier in your home country and ask whether your phone is unlocked.
      2. To use the SIM card over 90 days, you have to visit the sim card office with an alien registration card. There will be an additional cost of 20,000 KRW for changing the registered information and extending the expiry date. Hope these answer your questions! 🙂

      1. Gynn Leow

        Thanks for the reply.

        In my home country, I’m currently using a 4G plan with 4 GB data per month and did my calculations. Under the international plan, it is KRW 20.48/MB, that translates to KRW 20,480/GB.
        If I use my phone as per normal, I will use about 3.5 GB at the minimum. That means i’ll be paying KRW 71,680 to KRW 81,920 per month just for data.

        That is actually quite expensive! :O

        I would like to know if the KT operator has wireless that we can tap into throughout the country and not just in Seoul. Does the wireless extend to Busan, Jeju and the like? If it does, then I will be able to save on my 4G data usage.
        Thanks!

  6. Gynn Leow

    Ok thank you for the reply!

    I do have one more question actually. This international student sim card does not have access to KT free wifi network, correct?
    What other plans are available that do have access to the KT free wifi network, then?

    I also saw on this website https://seoulsally.wordpress.com/tag/olleh/
    that says that you can get a prepaid LTE 2GB for 19,800 won which is alot cheaper than this international student one. So now I am abit uncertain about this.

    1. Hi Gynn Leow!
      Unfortunately, all the prepaid SIM cards on Trazy does not have access to KT free WiFi network. Also, regarding the article that you have mentioned, we doubt that the same SIM card plan is still available since the post was written in 2015. We recommend you to visit KT Olleh in Korea and get more detailed information. Instead, let me summarize the SIM cards on our website for you. Please take your time and compare with other SIM cards and choose the best one for you.
      1. Prepaid 4G-LTE Data SIM Card for International Students
      – It can be used up to 90 days after activation. (You can extend the days by visiting SIM card office with alien registration card)
      – 40,000 won balance is included in the price.
      – Rates:
      Local calls (dialing) – 1.98won/min
      Local SMS (sending) – 22won/message
      Receiving calls/SMS – free
      Data (4G LTE) – 20.48won/MB
      2. Unlimited 4G LTE Data Pacakge
      – You can choose between 5-day, 10-day, and 30-day option.
      – Enjoy unlimited data anywhere throughout Korea
      Hope this info helps! 🙂

      1. Vivian

        Hi Trazy crew!

        Thanks for writing up this blog post — definitely a life saver! 🙂 I will be studying for 3 months without an ARC. I am considering the 4G LTE SIM for International Students but am hesitant given I am a heavy data-consumer.

        Can I just clarify:
        For EG Sim Card and Unlimited 4G LTE Package options, there is a max of 1 SIM per person, with the longest time period being 30 days. Is it possible to recharge/renew for 3- 30-day SIMs, or are foreigners limited to 1- 30-day subscription?

        Thanks!

      2. Hello Vivian! Thank you for your compliment and we are glad that you find this post helpful. At any rate, regarding your question, the maximum days of use for our EG SIM Card (with a mobile data and voice plan only) and unlimited LTE Data Only SIM Card are 30 days. But whenever you recharge the EG SIM Card upon your need during 30-day period, you will be able to use it 30 days more per 10,000 KRW of recharge. However, we also have a 4G-LTE Data SIM Card for international students and long-term travelers, which can be used for up to 90 days. In terms of cost, we recommend you to purchase this SIM Card instead of purchasing one EG SIM Card ($23) or three 30-day Unlimited 4G LTE Data Only SIM Card (3 x $57 ea = $171) as it only costs $26 USD and already includes a balance of 40,000 KRW. You can top up this SIM Card upon your need during the 90-day period, but please do take note that since you don’t have an alien registration card you will not be able to extend the SIM Card when it expires. You can purchase the SIM Card for international students and find more info via this link: https://www.trazy.com/experience/detail/prepaid-data-sim-card-international-student Hope this answers your question! 🙂

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