Remember my writing about Mobile Telecommunication in South Korea – Telekomunikasi Seluler di Korea Selatan ?
at the end of the writing I wrote “I Will write further info about this when I know more info about this”. and fortunately, I have got some more information than before.
Shown on the pictur is the phone (actually not a phone, it is a tablet but works as a phone too, i can use it to make phone calls over cellular (GSM/WCDMA). It is a bit hilarious actually, given the fact that this phone was made in South Korea, but people here are very curious about this phone (later on, i realize that this phone is not for sale in South Korea. hmm weird. okay, let;s go on to the main topic.
Having a korean number is very essential when you are planning to stay in South Korea for more than 3 months. for instance, you are going to need your phone number to send mail package, register naver account, register gmarket account, and surely the most important thing, to communicate with others here. of course you don’t want to get a huge amount of cellular roaming bill monthly. but here is the most interesting twist that you are going to find here. “Buying phone / getting phone numbers in South Korea is not that easy”. hmmm, why? well, it is the regulation from the government here, so.. what can we say?
BUT, I hope by reading this blog, that assumption of “Not that easy” will go away.
1. Getting your “foreign” phone working here, and your visit here is short term
Unfortunately, currently I still don’t have the exact information on this. but some online forum says that it is kinda possible, having your phone working here (aside from working it in “Roaming” state) with local phone number.
if you are staying in Seoul, it will be much easier, because the cellular providers have “Global Store” in Seoul. Visit them and ask them about this, no need to worry, they speak english 🙂
you are going to need your passport and some amount of cash (given the fact, buying number here is not that cheap) and your phone has to be Unlocked!
other possible solution is
– Renting phone
– Renting Portable wifi devices (Such as wibro, olleh egg, etc.)
2. Getting your foreign phone working here, and your visit will be more than Three months
When you are staying in South Korea for more than three months, you are required to register on immigration office, and arrange your Alien Registration Card it is an ID card required as your identification. further you are going to need this ID to open Bank account, register naver, gmarket account, etc. and surely this ARC is one of the requirement to get your phone working here. The card will be available around 2 weeks after you register.
next step is visiting provider main branch / global store in your city. unlike in Indonesia, buying SIM/USIM card here is not easy. small stores around you are not selling SIM/USIM card only, they are selling the number along the phone. and eventually they will say “we are not authorized to tell you whether you can use your foreign phone and activate it on my store, you should visit the main branch”. d’oh!
if you are staying in big cities such as Seoul, then it will be a lot easier for you, because all you do is just visit the global store, give your unlocked phone and ARC, choose number, pay, wait for activation, and that is it (for prepaid plan)
thing will get tricky when you are living in a small town like i do, (I am currently in Gwangju). to go to the main branch, i need my Korean friend’s help, because you will not meet any “romanized letter” on the main branch, in other word, nobody speaks other than Korean actually it is similar, you would need your ARC, your Unlocked phone, the provider will check whether it is usable on the network. the process will took time around 30 minutes, then when it is proven that it works, you will have to pay KRW 7.700 for the USIM card and also amount of credit balance (i bought KRW 10.000). Then you can choose whatever last Four-digit number for your phone number. next, it will take around 30 minutes – 2 hours to activate your phone to the network. and that’s it you are good to go for prepaid plan.
this procedure is actually easier than before, because you do not need to register your device to the ministry of telecommunication. because starting from march, 2012 the network will accept any phone, as long as it is unlocked.
Thanks a lot! i get the point of how to make my phone working here, but i need more information about the provider here
As written on my previous post, There are Three cellular provider in south korea
SK Telecom (SKT), Olleh (KTF), and LG U+
SK Telecom is the largest one, it provides 3G (WCDMA 2100), and also 4G LTE.
it has “T Wifi Zone” service spread all over South Korea (on campus, tourism, restaurant, shops, event buses)
This is the carrier I use for my phone. but here is the twist, as a prepaid subscriber, you cannot use data service on your phone over cellular (quite a weep 😦 ) but, in return. you can use “T Wifi Zone” for free! you might wanna use “T Wifi Zone_secure” instead for your security. to use it, simply connect, and when you are asked username and password, select “advanced options” then select Authentication EAP-SIM. then you are good to go.
next is Olleh (KTF) it is also a popular cellular provider that provides 3G (WCDMA 2100) and also 4G LTE service.
it has “Olleh Wifi Zone” service spread all over South Korea.
With this carrier you can use data service on your prepaid plan, but it is very pricey. this provider also have the best Foreign Service (in my opinion) given the fact, only this provider provides detailed service and a dedicated site for expat.
The last one is LG U+ is also a cellular provider here. it uses CDMA and also 4G LTE for its service
given this fact I am very doubtful that you can use your Foreign CDMA phone on this network. aside from that i have very little information about this provider.
but hey! this provider gives free wifi service everywhere with its “FREE_U+zone”
and actually you can also connect to their “U+village” “U+zone” wifi with this password : “lguplus100” also “U+office” with password “officenet1”
so, now got a more clear picture about cellular phone in South Korea?
give comment for any questions, or if i had my information mistaken, simply correct it via comment 🙂