Here’s the entry many of you are asking for!
I finally went to get my own Korean phone number, which is very much needed because I really need unlimited 3G Data, plus cheaper phone calls and messages! Unfortunately, this is not easy for foreigners who are here for a short while, because you either don’t have a foreigner social security number or that you aren’t sure about the contracts terms etc.
I got mine at SK Telecom! Actually, I personally recommend Olleh KT to foreigners, especially if you can’t speak Korean. Olleh KT seems more friendly to foreigners because they provide their phone plans in English: http://expatblog.kt.com/
Whereas I don’t think there’s any to be found on SK Telecom’s site.
But my Korean friend Ahlia is a loyal SK Telecom customer for years so she brought me to SK Telecom instead. It doesn’t matter to me because anyway, my friend is the one speaking most of the time. I don’t really have a big issue with them only speaking in Korean either, because it’s not really rocket science anyway. But if you’re the sort who really wants to know your plan in detail, go to an English-speaking service center instead!
So she brought me to one of the service centers in Guwol-dong, Incheon. For those of you who wants to get a mobile phone contract, refer to Olleh KT’s blog for more information on their global centers. Unless you want one from SK Telecom too. It’s really the same to me. Basic fees are also similar, if not almost identical.
I brought along my Samsung Galaxy S3, which I bought in Singapore not long ago. In Korea, they use something called USIM, which looks just about the same as my miroSIM card from Starhub. I didn’t have any problems at all. My Samsung Galaxy S3 is compatible with the USIM card from SK Telecom, and it worked almost immediately.
So for those who wants to do the same, whether with SK Telecom or Olleh KT, here’s a list of things that you need:
1. A phone. If you are bringing one from your country, call your service provider to check if the phone is unlocked. My friend told me that all phones bought in Singapore are unlocked. I guess that’s why I didn’t face a problem with my Galaxy S3. Also, Korea uses WCDMA network, so please bring a phone that is WCDMA 2100mHz-compatible. iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones will work perfectly in Korea, but I’m not sure about other phones, so call up and check.
2. Alien Registration card (if you have)
If you don’t have an Alien Registration card, you can bring along a Korean friend and use his/her name to get your line, and pay him or her your mobile phone bills every month. I actually tried with my passport first, but it’s not allowed sadly. And anyway it takes so long for foreigners to get a line for some reason. If you have a Korean friend who is willing to help, please do ask him or her!
Yeap, a very simple list! In return for a normal phone line that gives me unlimited 3G Data, 300minutes free calls and 4000won worth of free messages (one message is probably like, erm, less than 20won?). All for 54,000won a month.
It’s actually quite expensive because of the unlimited 3G data. You can opt for the 500MB one at 44,000 but only 10,000won cheaper, so I rather get the 54,000won and in return, I don’t need to worry about using up my free data.
You can also choose your own numbers too, as long as it’s available. The last four digits of your phone number is entirely up to your choice, while the first four digits will be subjected to availability.
For the record, I did not get 0606 as my last 4 digit number. haha.
Also, this is a phone plan, but NOT a contract, so I don’t have to pay anything when I cancel this line 6 months later (that’s if I’m going back).
Contracts are for those who are staying in Korea for up to or more than 2 years. You can get a Samsung Galaxy S3 for free by signing a contract and pay the monthly bills for 2 years (sometimes 3 years).
I have to pay 49,500won more for the USIM though, but whatever, I have a Korean phone number now! Makes life so much easier! ^^