One of the problems that we (as foreigners) have when travelling to Korea is that it is not that easy to buy a SIM-card here. Unlike Indonesia,-who has so many providers like XL or Simpati,- Korea only has a few providers to choose from . In Korea, there are three mobile telecommunications service providers: KT, SKT, and LG U+. These providers operate authorized service centers and phone retail stores called 공식 인증 대리점 (gongsik injeung daerijeom), where you can subscribe to a phone service and purchase a mobile phone. An authorized store should carry the logo of its parent company (and not others), as well as a sign that says “공식 인증 대리점.”
Mobile phone subscriptions require proper identification and proof of residency. Usually, a valid passport and an alien registration card suffice as documents for review by the service providers. The Status of Stay, shown on every alien registration card, determines the eligibility for subscription to either pre- or post-payment plan. Some foreigners may not be eligible to subscribe to the post-payment plan. If you subscribe to a pre-payment plan, you must either have your own mobile phone or purchase a new one.
These three main providers have the largest area of Wi-Fi connections including in subways and roads.
However, if you are only travelling or staying in Korea for less than 6 months, then it would be so difficult for you to get a SIM-Card. They usually charge a very high price if you don’t stay that long. The other options would be renting a phone (which would also cost a lot but easier than buying a SIM card) or buying a Wi-Fi egg (if you go in groups).
As I would only live in Korea for 5 months, then it would be so expensive if I need to buy or rent a phone here; but in the other hand it would be difficult for me to connect with my family and friends if I don’t have any SIM-Card. However worry no more, because there is a new Pre-Paid SIM card called the EG (Ever Green) Sim Card in Korea!! *celebration time*
To find out more about EG SIM card, you can visit their official website : http://www.egsimcard.co.kr and click the “ENGLISH” button if you don’t understand Korean!
With EG SIM card, you can enjoy:
- Both voice and data with your own phone at affordable prices
- Access to internet anywhere in Korea using Korea’s best quality mobile network
- Various ways to recharge – through homepage, smart phone application and local convenient stores
EG Sim Card is perfect for:
- Tourists with smartphone who need or want internet access anytime & anywhere regardless of Wi-Fi hotspot availability
- Foreigners who live temporarily in South Korea
There are two ways to buy this simcard : Via online and offline. If you want to buy it via online, then you could simply go to http://www.egsimcard.co.kr/eng/buy-eg-sim-card/online/buy-egsimcard.asp and follow the instructions!
I got a brochure about this new sim card and was totally interested in buying it so I decided to visit their offices. Rather than buying it online, I chose to buy offline so I visited the Mobile Agency in Myeong Dong Area. It is near the China Embassy.
EG Mobile agency (Myeongdong)
34, Myeongdong 2-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, 100-011
OPEN 10:00 ~ 18:30 , Monday~Sunday
(Please be aware that you must be in Korea for 5 days before you could buy a sim card via offline).
EG Mobile Agency in Myeongdong
The office is quite small but comfortable. There were two women sitting there who speak fluent Korean,English,Japanese and Chinese- so you do not need to worry about communication!
Make sure to bring your passport or Alien Registration Card with you because they need it for registration. You could also choose the 4 number digits for your new phone number! After they explain about the data usage and charges, you need to wait for 20 minutes for the sim card to be activated. There is a coffee shop downstairs so you could go and relax yourself there!
After 20 minutes, your sim card is now ready to use! The price is 30,000 won but it already includes a 40,000 won balance that you can use for internet, calling, messaging and others. Please be aware about the validity (Expiry date) of your data package! If the expiry date passes, you cannot use the service anymore. If the balance is empty, the service is also no longer valid. So please be careful to top-up your balance before the expiry date!
You can top-up as much money as you want before the expiry date. The balance must be only recharged per 10,000 won. There are three ways to top-up your balance :
- Payment by Credit card (VISA/MASTER/JCB/AMEX)
Just click the EG SIM Card application in your phone-Top Up menu- Top Up for Voice-Payment option- credit card
- Payment by Bank Credit Transfer
Hana Bank 190-910331-19907 (but I don’t recommend this way because it’s too complicated)
- PAYMENT BY CASH!! *the easiest*
Just go to the MyeongDong Mobile Agency office and buy it there!
I’ve been using it for a week now and I must say that EG-Sim Card works very well! Before, I need to go to coffee shops, Cafes, or big malls just to get wi-fi and contact my family/friends but now I could chat online or browse the internet anywhere anytime, even inside the subway trains (that is like 3 levels underground LOL)
Wishing you a safe and fun experience during your trip/stay in Korea!