International dialing prefixes in South Korea vary by operator, and there is no standard prefix. Check with your operator for the respective prefixes. For calls to South Korea, the country code is 82.
South Korea uses the CDMA standard exclusively and does not have a GSM network, so most 2G (GSM) mobile phones from elsewhere will not work. Even quad-band GSM phones are useless. However, if you have a 3G phone with a 3G SIM card, you can probably roam onto the UMTS/W-CDMA 2100 networks of KT or SK Telecom; check with your home operator before you leave to be sure. 4G LTE has recently been made available in Korea; again, check with your provider.
The country has three service providers: KT, SK Telecom and LG U+. They offer prepaid mobile phone services (pre-paid service, PPS) in South Korea. Incoming calls are free. Phones and prepaid services can be acquired at any retail location found on any street (for Koreans). Second-hand phones are also available at selected stores in Seoul.
Mobile phone coverage is generally excellent, with the exception of some remote mountainous areas. SK Telecom has the best coverage, followed by olleh (KT) and LG U+.
As a foreigner without Korean residency your choices are:
- Buy a prepaid SIM card from a olleh expat store (available 3 days after arriving in South Korea)
- Rent a phone from an airport (expensive - best for short visits)
- Using roaming on your phone if available by your home provider
- Borrow a phone from a Korean resident
- Have a Korean resident acquire another SIM card and lend it to you
- Use Skype (or other VOIP app) over the many Wifi spots available
If you want to buy a prepaid SIM card, you should be able to get a prepaid SIM card at one of the olleh expat locations. However, you must have been in Korea for at least 3 days, and you must bring your passport. The fee for a prepaid SIM card is ₩5,500, and you have to charge at least ₩10,000 at the spot. You must also have a compatible phone. All modern iPhones (3GS and later) should work. Contact olleh expat at @olleh_expats on Twitter for any questions.
All the carriers offer mobile phone rental services, and some handsets also support GSM SIM roaming. They have outlets at the international airports in Incheon, Seoul (Gimpo) and Busan (Gimhae). You can find service centers for KT SHOW and SK Telecom at Jeju airport as well. Charges start from ₩2000/day if you reserve in advance via the visitkorea website for a discount and guaranteed availability.
You can rent a 4G WiBro device between ₩5,000 ~ ₩10,000 a day for unlimited access, although coverage is not always available outside larger cities and in enclosed areas.
Prepaid SIM Card with 4G LTE Unlimited data plan
NeoKOSIM is a start-up company that has recently launched a partnership with KT to offer a 4G LTE unlimited data plan prepaid SIM card for travelers coming to Korea.
You can order online on their website and will receive a PDF voucher via your e-mail after payment. SIMs can be picked up at Incheon airport, at the Olleh KT roaming center (gate 6) inside in the arrival hall 1F. These SIMs are for purchase and not to be returned. >>> korea sim card for data
Voice & data pass
You can order online on their website and will receive a PDF voucher via your e-mail and will pay when you pick up the SIM. They can be picked up at Incheon airport, at the Olleh KT roaming center (gate 6) inside in the arrival hall 1F.
These SIMs are for rental and are to be returned: Voice and text consumptions will be billed extra. >>> Korea SIM Card for Data and Voice
Does your smart phone work with Korea SIM Card in South Korea?
Before enjoying Prepaid Korea SIM Card, you should first make sure that your smartphone will work in South Korea. K-SIM based on Korea Telecom (KT) Network uses the 4G LTE frequency of 2100 MHz/ 1800 MHz/ 900 MHz and the 3G UMTS/HSDPA frequency of 2100 MHz.
Make sure your phone supports this frequency in order to have full 4G LTE speed.
Remind that you should have an unlocked smartphone to use K-SIM, Korea SIM Card in South Korea.
The 1330 Korea Travel Phone service is a very useful service provided by the Korea Tourism organization. It is a 24 hour service and offered in four different languages (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese). The operator will answer questions on bus schedules, accommodation, museum hours, etc.
South Korea is the world's most wired country and Internet cafes, known as PC bang (PC 방, pron. BAH-ng), are ubiquitous through the country. Most customers are there for gaming but you're free to sit and type e-mails as well, typical charges are about ₩1,000 to ₩2,000/hour, although more "luxurious" places may charge more. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase in most PC bangs. Smoking is banned in PC bangs but many stores will give tacit consent to smoking, despite stating otherwise if asked explicitly (for legal reasons). Most PC bangs tend to be cash only.
There is also a lot of free wifi available throughout South Korea. Just check for an unencrypted signal, although using open wifi hotspots is a potential security risk anywhere in the world so be careful what you use it for.
Most households in South Korea do have broadband connections with wifi, and most are encrypted by default.
ollehWiFi is one of the most common WiFi hotspots available and requires payment. The service is fast (30Mbps+) and prices are affordable at ₩1,100 per hour or ₩3,300 per day. You can buy the service on your device by credit card, or by cash or card in most convenience stores. ollehWiFi is available at most convenient stores, coffee shops, some marts, restaurants, intercity buses, and on all subways and subway stations in the Seoul Metropolitan Area.
The Starbucks Coffee chain also offers wifi, however you will require a South Korean resident card to use it. Many other coffee shops offer free wifi with no registration required. ollehWiFi should also be available in all Starbucks stores.
South Korean websites frequently require Windows and Microsoft Internet Explorer, especially those involving online payment. As elsewhere in Asia, a lot of services are becoming available primarily for Mobile Phones, with Kakao Talk being the most popular.
Korea Post is fast, reliable and reasonably priced. Postage for a postcard anywhere in the world is ₩660, while letters and packages start from ₩480. If you want actual traditional stamps, be sure to ask for them, or else you will just get a printed label. On request, fancy "tourist" cancellations (Gwangwang Tongsin Ilbuin) for your stamps are available at selected post offices without additional charge. Korea Post accepts Visa and MasterCard for purchases over ₩1,000.
Most post offices are open weekdays only from 09:00 to 18:00. Larger post offices also open Saturday mornings, and central offices in the main cities stay open late and are open on Sundays as well.
South Korea has several English language media sources for daily news and other information, such as the Yonhap News Agency
For television, there is an English language channel called Arirang TV that is available throughout the world on some cable subscriptions. AFN Korea is available to US military community or via cable.
There are some English language radio stations in South Korea such as TBS e-FM (101.3 FM) and AFN channel (1530 AM and 102.7 FM in Seoul).