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. ūüėČ

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.¬†%5BGS25%5DGS25_žĚīžö©Ūē†_ŽēĆ_Ūē†žĚł%2C_ž†ĀŽ¶Ĺ_ŪĆĀ_._ž†ēŽ≥ī_Ž™®žĚĆ

2. Choose the Right SIM Card Typebyod-modal-step3-250x140

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).

EG-SIMFBkl_.pngNevertheless, 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.)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. The SIM Card companies provide an English service.ž†úŽ™© žóÜžĚĆ

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?

1. SIM Card – 3G Data & Voice Calls (Up to 30 Days)

| Ideal For: Short-term visitors & business travelers

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 a balance of 5,500 KRW for making calls and sending SMS.

You can use this SIM Card for 30 days, and while you are using it, you can recharge as per your need via mobile app.

Click here for more info or to purchase the SIM Card.

2. SIM Card – Unlimited 4G/LTE Data – No Voice Calls (Up to 30 days)

| Ideal For: Short-term visitors & business travelers

For those of you who want to get¬†connected 24/7 in Korea, here’s a SIM card with unlimited 4G LTE¬†data usage.

This data package is provided by the largest wireless operator in Korea, KT (Olleh) and you can also share the internet connection with other devices via tethering.

The package comes with 3 options for you to choose from, depending on how many days you want to use the SIM Card: 5-day, 10-day or 30-day.S

Keep in mind that this is a data-only SIM Card, which means you cannot make or receive voice calls. However, the SIM Card does support MVolP calls via LINE, Kakao, Whatsapp or Messenger.

sim-card-unlimitedClick here for more info or to purchase the SIM Card.

3. SIM Card – 4G/LTE Data & Voice Calls & SMS (Up to 90 days)

| Ideal For: Long-term visitors, international/exchange students

If you are planning on staying in Korea for more than 30 days then this long-term prepaid 4G-LTE SIM card is the best option.

With this SIM card plan, you can enjoy phone calls, text messages and 4G/LTE data for up to 90 days after activation, which also comes with a balance of 40,000 KRW.

‚ÄĽIf you buy the SIM Card separately without balance, it costs 8,800 KRW.

You have pick up the SIM Card at Hongik University Station Office, which is the same place you can top up or extend the expiration date of your SIM Card. Make sure to bring your alien registration card and change your SIM Card before it expires.

You can also top up the SIM Card at any GS25, CU or 7-Eleven convenience store around you.

sim-card-90daysClick here for more info or to purchase the SIM Card.

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.portable-wifiRead more:¬†SIM Card vs Wi-Fi Router: Which Mobile Internet Option Should You Use When Traveling in South Korea?

If you want to buy the Wi-Fi Egg instead of renting it, you will need an alien registration card, which is an ID card for foreigners in Korea, so it is best to get your ID proved. Check out our guide to getting an alien card in Korea here.

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Visit Korea’s #1 Travel Shop,¬†, for the most up-to-date travel information and destinations in South Korea.button-visit

SIM Card vs Wi-Fi Router: Which Mobile Internet Option Should You Use When Traveling in South Korea?

Do you want to share your travel experiences real time on Facebook and Instagram? Or do you have to make calls and send text messages while traveling in South Korea?

Among many options for you to get accessed to the mobile internet and stay connected in Korea, here are the two most popular options that are commonly used by travelers: Prepaid SIM Card and WiFi router, or WiFi Egg.

See which option is ideal for you based on your needs and stay connected in mobile-friendly South Korea!

1. Prepaid SIM Card

Need to make voice calls and use mobile data & SMS? Purchase a prepaid SIM Card!

If you are a traveler who needs to make local and international calls and also wants to use mobile data and text while traveling in South Korea, purchasing a prepaid SIM card is a better option for you instead of WiFi router.

EG SIM card is recommended as most the popular prepaid SIM card in Korea, which provides high-quality voice calls and high-speed mobile data and text everywhere in Korea. For details, click here.E_AbouEGSIMCard

Need a local Korean number? EG SIM card is what you are looking for.

Once you purchase the EG SIM card, you will receive a new local (Korean) phone number while using your own mobile phone. Therefore, the best thing about using EG SIM card is that you will be able to communicate with the locals and receive international calls as well! This is why the EG SIM card is ideal for travelers on a business trip or short sojourn who need to make local calls in Korea.

*Possible Downside
Do keep in mind that since you will be using¬†a new Korean number, you will have to go through the¬†hassle to tell your friends, family and acquaintances back at home about¬†your new number.korea-sim-card-mobile-voiceFor those who¬†don’t want to go through the hassle, here’s a small tip for you. Along with the mobile device that you are using right now, bring another one¬†that you do not use anymore. Register and insert the SIM card in the old device and use the new Korean number. This way, you can easily make local calls by just using your old phone.

2. WiFi Router


Need to use loads of mobile data every day? Rent a WiFi Egg!

If you are a traveler who does not need to use the voice calls and text messages but needs loads and loads of mobile data for surfing the internet and send large files of photos and videos online (and of course, avoid a bill shock from costly roaming service), using a WiFi router, or WiFi Egg, is highly recommended. For more details on WiFi Egg, click here.

Pocket-WiFi-Korea-LTEAccording to a research, the average daily usage of mobile data of travelers is 125MB/day. While the EG SIM card provides 1GB of mobile data and the 3G service for up to 30 days, the WiFi Egg provides 1GB a day.

For those who are wondering how much 1GB a day is, just think of it as sending/receiving 28,000 emails, shooting 2,000 Instagrams, or making 6,000 posts on Facebook.

Therefore, if you¬†think about using 1GB for 30 days,¬†the amount of mobile data provided by EG SIM card is comparatively smaller than that of the WiFi Egg. If you are using¬†the WiFi Egg, though 1GB is still a lot of data, try to¬†avoid heavy downloading and uploading online because you do have to pay¬†extra charges (US$ 0.02 / MB) when you exceed the data limit of 1GB. ūüėČ

Share WiFi with your travel buddies with WiFi Egg!

WiFi Egg can connect up to¬†5¬†people simultaneously, which makes it perfect for you if you’re traveling with¬†friends and family or in a small group of buddies. If you do¬†share the router¬†with your friends, you can share the cost¬†as well.

*Possible Downside
The battery life of the WiFi Egg lasts about 5-7 hours on a single full charge, which means that you have to carry around the battery charger when traveling. Plus, the battery life drains quicker when the WiFi Egg is used simultaneously. So make sure that you have an extra charger to charge the Wi-Fi router device. 

3. Where & How to Purchase/Rent Sim Card and Wi-Fi Router

Travelers can purchase a prepaid SIM card online and then¬†pick it up at places such as Incheon International Airport.korea-sim-card-mobile-voiceIf you want to save your time and stay connected as soon as you arrive at the airport, we advise you to purchase the SIM card online via Korea’s #1 Travel Shop,¬† those who¬†don’t need to use any voice calls or SMS and are going to stay temporarily in Korea, the data-only plan is an ideal choice.¬†Booking a mobile data-only SIM card at a discounted price is available here.

On the other hand, 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 than the data-only plan.prepaid-sim-cardWith this SIM card plan, you can enjoy phone calls, text messages and 4G/LTE data for up to 90 days. For more info, click here.

This SIM Card is highly recommended for long-term travelers and international students visiting Korea for a student exchange program.

Similar to the prepaid SIM card, it is advisable to rent WiFi Egg online in advance and then pick up the egg at the airport.wifi-koreaOn the last day of your trip, you must return it to the collection locations, Incheon Int. Airport as an example. For more info on collection locations, click here.

sim-card-wifi-compareNow, did you get your answers for which option to use when traveling to South Korea – the prepaid SIM card or the WiFi Egg?

If you want to find out more about South Korea’s SIM Cards, make sure you check out our previous post on ‘Survival Tip: All about SIM Card! (Prepaid SIM card for foreigners)‘.

Last but not least, don’t forget to visit, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, for all the latest, newest and trendiest things to do in South Korea that will make your travel the best.button_main