South Korea is known for its fast WiFi and there is even a belief that one can move around Korea by simply relying on free WiFi. However, the first time I lived in Seoul as an exchange student, I suffered greatly due to this belief. Having data and a Korean cell phone number makes everything so much easier! Especially considering that during your first week of training, you will have almost no time to set up a cell phone contract. In fact, you cannot even set up a contract until you have your Alien Registration Card - which can take up to a month to get. Moreover, the assistance with setting up your official cell phone contract may or may not provided once you arrive at your branch. However, despite these barriers I will teach you through this blog about how you can get connected immediately upon arrival during your time teaching in Korea.
KT is one of the top service providers in Korea, and one of the best parts about this company is that they KT Roaming Centers at all Korean international airports. At these centers, one can rent prepaid SIMs, prepaid data SIMs and portable WiFi routers. Also, if you make an online reservation, you simply pick up your rental upon arrival and you are all set to go! Also, they provide a discount price if you reserve online - it’s about 20,000 won.
The first option, the prepaid SIM, provides you with unlimited 3G data and the ability to receive any domestic and international calls for free. Outgoing calls get charged at rates varying upon where you are calling. If you choose this option then they provide you with a Korean cell phone number. The prepaid data SIM provides you with unlimited 3G data only. The SIM card options can be rented for five, ten or thirty days. Lastly, the portable WiFi router provides you with unlimited 3G data, but unlike the prepaid data SIM, this option allows multiple users to use the data. There are three WiFi router options to choose from and the price varies depending on the model you desire. The WiFi routers are on a daily rate and require a deposit. Currently and until March 31st, the daily fee is 50% off - only KRW 4,400/day.
Something worth noting is that these rentals must be returned in person at one of the KT Roaming Centers. Moreover, while you have a prepaid SIM that provides voice and data, you cannot create a regular KT cell phone contract. The SIM card must first be returned for your phone to be free to accept a regular KT SIM card. This is something I wish I knew! Conveniently, if you wish to continue to use your rental, then simply keep your rental past the due date and your agreement will be renewed and charged to your card, so it is necessary to go in person to a center for extensions. Again, also something I wish I knew!
After returning my prepaid SIM, I was able to create a regular contract with KT at a regular location (not a KT Roaming Center) with my Alien Registration Card, bank account number, and permanent address information.
If you think you need this in your life, then go to roaming.kt.com to learn more or to make a reservation asap. I hope this makes your transition to Korea easier. I know it helped me a lot.
Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul. .