How to Pass Covid-19 Quarantine and Immigration in Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea with Korea SIM

v.11 updated at 2022. 05. 30

The new Q-Code system( https://cov19ent.kdca.go.kr/cpassportal/ ), the Quarantine Information Advance Input System by Korean Government, has been applied to enter South Korea.

1. For unlocked eSIM-supported iPhone (Unlimited Data + Phone number for receiving voice and messages)

1) Buy Korea eSIM SKY. ( https://www.krsim.net/product/korea-esim-sky-4G-LTE-Unlimited-data/60/ )

2) Receive a voucher email with a QR code and a Korean phone number (in a few minites).

3) Contact to Q-Code system ( https://cov19ent.kdca.go.kr/cpassportal/ ) and input your information with the above phone number.

4) Boarding a plane and landing at Incheon International Airport.

5) Connecting Airport Wi-Fi (SSID: Airport Wi-Fi)

6) Online eSIM activation application ( https://www.krsim.net/esimact )

7) Pass the immigration and Enter South Korea.

How to scan eSIM QR code in iPhone or Android


2. If you want full mobile services(Phone number + Unlimited Voice, Message and Data)

1) Purchase Korea SIM Blue Plus ( https://www.krsim.net/product/Korea-SIM-Blue-Plus-4G-LTE-Unlimited-Data-Local-Voice-USIM/40/ ). And input the hotel address for the SIM delivery.

2) Receive confirmation email (in a few minites) 

3) Ask the phone number for you through the messenger on krsim.net with your order number on one day before the date you designate as a delivery pick up. (If it is weekend or holiday, on the prior working day)

4) Contact to Q-Code system ( https://cov19ent.kdca.go.kr/cpassportal/ ) and input your information.

5) Boarding a plane and landing at Incheon International Airport

6) Pass the immigration and Enter South Korea. 

7) Collect the Korea SIM Blue Plus you have delivered and check the phone number.

Korea SIM Blue Plus which offers Korean phone number for Covid-19 Quarantine and full unlimited mobile services

3. Phones without eSIM function. (Unlimited Data + Phone number for receiving voice and messages)

1) Purchase Korea SIM Gold. ( https://www.krsim.net/product/Korea-SIM-Gold-4G-LTE-Unlimited-Data-Only-USIM/44/ )

2) Receive voucher email including order number (in a few minites)

3) Contact to Q-Code system ( https://cov19ent.kdca.go.kr/cpassportal/ ) and input your information. Check ‘I do not possess a mobile phone’ and input the phone number of the hotel as a available contact phone number in Korea.

4) Boarding a plane and landing at Incheon International Airport.

5) Pass the immigration and collect baggage.

6) Visit SK Telecom Desk and pick-up USIM (check the phone number).

       a. Incheon Airport Terminal 1 : between Gate #9~#10; 6AM~10PM

       b. Incheon Airport Terminal 2 : between Gate #4~#5; 6AM~10PM

7) Update to the phone number for Korea SIM Gold on the Q-Code system.

Korea SIM Gold which offers Korean phone number for Covid-19 Quarantine




Detail

Starting April 1, Officials announced that travelers who have completed vaccination overseas and registered their vaccination history with Quarantine COVID19 Defense (Q-Code) system will be able to enter South Korea without a seven-day quarantine period. However, this does not apply to vaccinated visitors from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Myanmar, and must quarantine for seven days.

If you are considered as a fully vaccinated traveler, you must have received two doses of a WHO-approved vaccine (1st for Jansen) 14 days before arrival (valid up to 180 days) or received a third( booster) shot (there is no limit to number of days post booster shot).

Some restrictions haven’t changed for arrivals. PCR tests are still required for people entering Korea. They must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of their departure. Another PCR test must be taken the day after arrival at a public health center. The third test on the seventh day is still required, but it can be an antigen test starting next month.

Q-CODE (Quarantine COVID19 Defense System)

International visitors must register their vaccine status on the Q-CODE website before arriving in Korea. The QR code will be provided which you must scan at immigration. When registering, Q-CODE will ask for your personal information (including passport number), entry information (departure country, airline, address in Korea, phone number) and vaccine records. Anyone who inputs normal quarantine information through Q-code will be able to be fast and convenient quarantine inspection.

Furthermore, you can only input all the information on the Q-Code website within 2 days from your departure date because one of the information you must input is the PCR negative test result which must take place within 48 hours from departure date.

If you input false or inaccurate information related to the Q-code, you may incur a penalty or be subjected to entry restriction in accordance with the relevant laws and ordinances of the Republic of Korea. The same law applies when you submit false or inaccurate QR-code by proxy.

1. If your device is an eSIM-supported iPhone,

The recently released iPhone has an eSIM function. Even if you don’t have to use a physical SIM card, you can enjoy the same effect as inserting a physical SIM card into your iPhone through download. It is the most convenient and recommended way. You can check whether your iPhone supports eSIM in Setting. (Photo) If your phone is not related to a mobile carrier and appear as shown on the screen above in the setting, I strongly recommend using eSIM.

Korea eSIM Sky is the only eSIM that currently provides Korean phone numbers, so there is no other choice. It provides unlimited data. To be precise, 3GB full speed is provided unlimitedly per day, and after using 3GB, unlimited data is provided at 5Mbps. And a new 3GB will be provided again at midnight every day. The 5Mbps speed is even possible for YouTube streaming.

This eSIM is a product supplied from LG Uplus, Korea’s top three mobile network operators. You can purchase it cheaper if you purchase it on the Korea SIM card website than directly from LG Uplus. (Photo)

You can receive an e-mail with a QR code and a Korean phone number (in a few minutes) after ordering. The email voucher already contained a Korean phone number, so you can input the quarantine information in Q-code from the time of purchasing a flight ticket and preparing for travel, before boarding a flight to Korea.

As soon as getting off the plane at Incheon International Airport, you can apply for online activation and scan the QR code with airport Wi-Fi. The next steps are the same as normal immigration procedures.

2. if your phone doesn’t support eSIM ,

In this case, Korea SIM Gold is a best choice. It is a product provided by SK Telecom, Korea’s No. 1 mobile carrier, and SK Telecom is collaborating with Incheon International Airport.

Korea SIM Gold is basically a USIM that provides unlimited data without speed limits, but it also provides additional functions such as incoming voice calls and text messages with Korean phone numbers (Starting 010- ) when ordering online and picking up at the airport. Since outgoing voice calls and text messages are impossible, voice calls can be made using data such as FaceTime and Messenger app. You don’t need an activation process, and you can use it after rebooting 2-3 times your phone.

Like eSIM, it is recommended to purchase on the Korea SIM card website at a lower price than on the SK Telecom website. (Photo)

When ordering online, the order number is listed in the e-mail you receive, and you can pick-up USIM by showing this order number to SK Telecom Desk. The USIM contains a Korean phone number starting with 010. Depending on the terminal you arrive at (Terminal 1 or Terminal 2), the pick-up location and operating time can be different.

SK Telecom desk is located in the arrival hall after quarantine, immigration, and baggage claim. Therefore, you need to input your information in Q-Code system before receiving SIM card. If you check ‘I do not possess a mobile phone’ on the stay information page, you can enter the phone number of the hotel as an available contact phone number in Korea. In other words, you can input the temporary available phone number first, and then you can update the number after picking SIM card up. After passing the quarantine inspection and entering the country with the QR code through Q-Code system, you can visit the SK Telecom desk and pick it up the SIM card. When you receive it, you can notify the changed information to the quarantine officer in Korea.

All about Prepaid and Unlimited Data SIM Card in South Korea (related to Covid-19 Quarantine and Immigration)

What is the best prepaid and unlimited data SIM card for me?

With what SIM, can I pass Covid-19 Quarantine and Immigration in Incheon International Airport

Updated : 2021. 12. 3

version 1.6

Unlimited data SIM? 4G LTE Prepaid SIM? or WiFi Egg?


Abstract

  • Korea eSIM Sky is highly recommended for Covid-19 Quarantine and Immigration in South Korea, on the condition that you have an iPhone which has eSIM function. It is perfect and the only solution you can know your Korean Phone number which will be used for registrating in Covid-19 Quarantine app. even before boarding the airplane.
  • If your phone does not support eSIM function and your are about to land at Terminal 2, Incheon International Airport, please choose Korea SIM Gold and pick it up before visiting Covid-19 Quarantine desk. You will have no problem to pass the immigration.
  • Both have 4G unlimited data and RECEIVING voice and message function. If you want to use OUTGOING voice and message function, you should choose Korea SIM Blue Plus. But in this case, for you to pass Covid-19 quarantine in airport, the phone number should be updated afterwards. It can be only delivered by parcel in South Korea. You can designate the hotel address when you order.
  • The details is described well in another article of mine: How to Pass Covid-19 Quarantime and Immigration In Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea with Korea SIM

General

Nowadays, related to Covid-19 situation, Korean Government request foreigners who are about to visit Korea to submit their cell phone number on arrival in Incheon International Airport. So, If you have a plan to travel to Korea, you should prepare for a prepaid SIM which has a Korean phone number before landing in Seoul.

On the other hands, South Korea is the best country offering best quality of mobile network that any visitors must experience. The quality and coverage of the 4G LTE network is second to none in the world. It covers almost 99.9% of the whole region in South Korea with 4G LTE network, therefore it is not just a subsidiary option but a major tour package itself that is highly recommended to try.

.jpg
4G LTE Coverage in South Korea

It is even leading the mobile 5G global standard now. Especially, top 3 telecom company, SKT(SK Telecom), LGU+(LG Uplus) and KT(Korea Telecom) eagerly try to advertise its technological superiority for the world. 

SK Telecom 5G
LG Uplus 5G
kt 5G

So, this article would like to share every checkpoint to enjoy mobile network in Korea such as what product to choose or what to be aware.

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Korea_(South) shows the general introduction but it’s not only too massive to effectively search or compare information or products nor hard to notice but it also displays meaningless products from A to Z and it makes users harder to choose.

If there’s any missing points or anywhere needs modifications, it’ll be constantly updated in the future with continuous feedbacks so please feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions. I’ll focus on getting best products based on that.


Things to check

Most of the mobile devices made outside of Korea are available to use in Korea. As long as the device allows to plug in the USIM regardless of its USIM size or type, all smartphones, tablet PCs, routers or laptops are all available.

The reason its size or type doesn’t’ matter is because almost of them comes in 3-in-1 type (nano, micro and general) and you can pick the size your device allows. (Most of the devices produced recently are made with nano size.) But to make it more securely, let’s keep those 3 in mind.

  • The terminal has to be unlocked.

    No need to explain but literally make sure if the device you are willing to use is restricted to specific telecom company or specific country. If so, you can not use the device with Korean local SIM. But don’t worry. Most of the countries allow to unlock immediately by calling the current telecom company or production companies and offer them IMEI numbers of yours.
  • Check the network techniques and frequencies.

    It is not working if your phone is CDMA base or doesn’t allow SIM card to plug in. Only devices with LTE or WCDMA that allows SIM card in it are available. Also if the device supports Korean LTE frequencies, you can use LTE. If it doesn’t support LTE frequencies, it’ll be connected to 3G WCDMA. Among those networks, SKT(SK Telecom) and KT(Korea Telecom) SIM cards for tourists are dominantly being used because of its frequencies. LG U+ is CDMA based and therefore it’s limited to work! So LG U+ are focusing more on WiFi router even at the airport booth.
  • If you have used Korean prepaid SIM card in your device before,

    In this case, the SIM in the past could be still connected to the device so it may not be able to use with new SIM in. If newly purchased SIM is not working, you may be requested to call your previous telecom company and ask for deactivation. For your information, if it’s stolen devices or listed on a international blacklist, it is restricted to use.

Where to buy

There are 3 ways to buy it. What you need to be aware is it is not absolutely impossible to purchase in town outside of the airport but pretty bothering.

You can find some convenience stores like 7-11 in major places in Seoul or Haewoondae in Busan but you have to get to the store and in some case you may have language barrier. Best recommendable idea is buying from below 3 ways. It is not recommended to leave the airport with not getting the SIM card.

In fact, below 3 ways are the most dominant for visitors or foreigners coming to Korea, which are 1) purchase online prior to the arrival and pick up at the airport, or 2) purchase at airport convenience stores after arrival or 3) getting the SIM card from the airport telecom company service desk.

  • Online Purchace and Pick up at Airport

    It is strongly suggested and cheapest way to purchase online prior to the trip and to pick it up at the airport after arrival especially in this Covid-19 situation.The most reliable and commonly used online SIM shopping mall is Korea SIM card( https://www.krsim.net ). Koea SIM card is highly recommended because it’s on market directly from the telecom company and has all the best SIM solutions for tourists with cheapest price reward system. You can also choose eSIM there. From the actual experiences their CS is also very pleasant. No need to return after use.Roaming KT offers data unlimited plan and smartphone rental services in the airport but no premium 4G LTE is provided. There you can get only 5Mbps data SIM. Other than KT, there are other data unlimited USIM sellers getting their products from overseas tour agencies such as funko, trazy, klook, or kkday. But even though you order there, you will get the same product(kt 5Mbps unlimited data 5 days, 10 days and 30 days) with Roaming KT. In addition, it’s not only provided from Korean telecom companies directly but also complicated to get in touch with CS when needed so not recommended.Also you may see other online small distributor’s shopping mall such as linkkorea or neokoSIM, but some products of theirs are available only by visiting a specific offline store in town like Hongdae so not inconvenient enough as well. In case of EG SIM, it used to be widely used but currently it is extremely hard to get connected to CS center. It is easy to find people who cursing the company in Facebook of EG SIM. (It was also the starting point for me to start this posting). Still, I find so many blog articles that introduces EG SIM. I can clearly say it is outdated article and forget EG SIM.Please remember that if you can not find the information about data speed on the product detail page, it will offer just 5Mbps internet or below.

  • Airport Convenience Stores

    If you haven’t purchased the SIM card online in advance, getting one from the airport convenience store is another great way to get. There’s no differences from other countries where you can easily buy SIM cards from continence stores. It makes your trip easier and recommended to buy from airport convenience store whereas online purchase is needed to finalize reservation average 1~2 days ahead of the arrival.Korea SIM Blue is on market and I was told that only 7 days and 15 days are available there. And recently Korea SIM Orange (5, 10 and 30 days) was released, too. You can get them even at the same prices in CVS downtown. The price is a bit higher than online purchase though. (About 20%).# Incheon International Airport (T1): CU #1, #2 and #3 on 1F. Arrival Floor

    # Incheon International Airport (T2): 7-11 on 1F. Arrival Floor

    # Gimpo International Airport: 7-11 on 3F. (You can also get from Domestic Terminal or Subway Station “Gimpo Airport”)

    # Gimhae International Airport : 7-11 on 1F. Arrival Floor

    # Jeju International Airport : 7-11 on 3F.

    why_bg2_01

    CU convenience stores on the 1F arrival floor in Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 are the most actively purchasable places.

    711atT2.JPG
    7-11 convenience stores on the 1F arrival floor in Incheon International Airport Terminal 2

    Separate from purchase, you can activate the SIM card by yourself whenever you need. In case of Inchon Airport, there’s red cap wearing staff helping activation in front of the Gate 10 and CU convenience store where says SIM card on the board on the arrival floor so you can get help. (8AM-8PM, 7 days a week)

  • Airport Roaming Desk

    Likewise, once you’re arrived at the airport and need the SIM card urgently, it is also one of the good idea to visit the telecom roaming desk. There are different roaming desks from different telecom companies (SKT, KT, LG U+) but it’s very busy with many crowds all the time, so you may need to wait more than an hour. And there, it is much more expensive than online.

    Basically roaming centers sell unlimited data SIM card but if you want to use voice, you should set your credit card open for deposit and return the SIM after use, and pay extra charged if there’s any when you’re returning the SIM. Other than this they also have WiFi router rental and smartphone rental services.


What to buy – The Best SIM in South Korea

Here, I suggest the Best SIM in South Korea for foreign traveler. And online preorder is highly recommended. If you have a plan to arrive in Korea and to buy SIM in airport, it will be much more expensive and you can find few options to select.

한국어 페이지는 https://www.krusim.com 이며, 中文网站是 https://www.ktisim.com .

  1. The Best 4G LTE Prepaid SIM for travelers in South Korea

    CHOICE : Korea SIM BLUE
    The Best 4G LTE Prepaid SIM I think is ‘Korea SIM BLUE’ which has recently released. It offers unlimited 4G LTE full speed(Max 150Mbps) data, Korean mobile number which starts with 010- , local voice call 100 min. and 100 messages at a very rational price starting from US$ 22.9. With it, everyone can use his phone just like in his home country with world best high quality and all coverage in Korea. International outgoing voice calls are impossible, but receiving voice calls from anywhere are for free of charge unlimitedly. (In fact, there is no SIM for travelers that enable international outgoing voice call in Korea.) It also offers the most various period option products, 5, 7, 10, 15 and 30 days. Recently the price was set down from US$ 22.9 tempararily.

    Korea SIM BLUE


    product package : 5, 7, 10, 15 and 30 days

    Main Features

    Max. 150Mbps 4G LTE everywhere in Korea with your own Smartphone
    No deposit / Offers 010 number (free incoming calls)
    Local voice call 100 min. and Messages 100EA
    Unlimited free for receiving calls and messages.
    All the mobile services including voice call, message and internet.
    24/7 Registration system (you can choose when to start)
    Additional top-up available anytime by mobile APP
    Available from Korea SIM Card ( https://www.krsim.net ) and offline stores such as CU or 7-Eleven.

    Price

    Korea SIM Blue 5 days – US$ 22.9 (Online, discounted)

    Korea SIM Blue 7 days – US$ 27.9 (Online, discounted), KRW 34,900 (CVS)

    Korea SIM Blue 10 days – US$ 31.9 (Online, discounted)

    Korea SIM Blue 15 days – US$ 40.3 (Online, discounted), KRW 49,900 (CVS)

    Korea SIM Blue 30 days – US$ 58.9 (Online, discounted)

    1. The Best 4G LTE Data SIM for travelers in South Korea

      CHOICE : Korea SIM Orange
      Recently(July 2018), Korea No. 1 telephone company SKT(SK Telecom) released new outstanding 4G LTE unlimited data SIM. It offers 1GB per each day + unlimited data at 400kbps. Moreover, there is no need to activate or register the SIM, so on insrerting the SIM, you can start to use without any other process. As far I know, there is no other SIM which requires no activation in South Korea. Above all, The price begins with USD 4.75! I don’t know when the price promotion will be ended.
      Also, you can enjoy Korean mobile number which starts with 010, and with it, you can receive voice calls from anywhere for free of charge unlimitedly.

       

product package : 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 and 30 daysMain Features

Max. 150Mbps 4G LTE everywhere in Korea with your own Smartphone
2GB at Full speed per each day and unlimited data at 400kbps speed
No need to Activate
Korea No. 1 Telecom compamy, SKT(SK Telecom)
No deposit / No need to return
Offers Korean Mobile 010 number
Unlimited free for receiving calls
Data Sharing(Tethering) and Messenger Talk(mVoIP) available
Available from Korea SIM Card ( https://www.krsim.net )

Price

Korea SIM Orange 1days – US$ 4.7 (Online, discounted), KRW 6,600 (Off-line in Airport)

Korea SIM Orange 3days – US$ 14.5(Online, discounted), KRW 18,000 (Off-line in Airport)

Korea SIM Orange 5days – US$ 22.0 (Online, discounted), KRW 27,500 (Off-line in Airport)

Korea SIM Orange 10days – US$ 29.65 (Online, discounted), KRW 38,500 (Off-line in Airport)

Korea SIM Orange 20days – US$ 48.7 (Online, discounted), KRW 60,500 (Off-line in Airport)

Korea SIM Orange 30days – US$ 55.5 (Online, discounted), KRW 71,500 (Off-line in Airport)

  • Cheapest internet with little convenience as long as it’s connected to network

    CHOICE : SKT WiFi Router

    Main Features

    Wi-Fi connected with unlimited data without worry
    Have to make a security deposit, and return the device to have the deposit back.
    There will be a charge for a damaged or lost device.

    Price

    USD 2.9 / day (Online, discounted), Credit card open needed

  • How to Recharge 4G LTE kt Prepaid SIM in Korea and How to Check the Credit Balance(For Korea SIM RED)

    Online with easy purchase? or Offline in CVS in real time?

     

    In South Korea, it is obvious that major two SIM products from kt (Korea Telecom) have monopoly on the entire SIM market now. 4G LTE Prepaid SIM is available all around the airport and you can see everywhere including CVS. Moreover, Unlimited Data SIM is the most popular SIM plan.

    There is no need to recharge for Unlimited Data SIM. So, in this article, I would like to share how to recharge 4G LTE kt Prepaid SIM and how to check the credit balance.

     

    img_ltesim2
    kt 4G LTE Prepaid 2GB SIM

     

    The minimum price for recharge is KRW 10,000 per 500MB. I think it is not that cheap, but it is totally worth for its world top class premium quality. For this reason, I would like to strongly recommend 2GB SIM instead of 1GB, if you need more than 1GB. This way, you can save KRW 5,000 with the same value of 2GB.

    Recharge Online with easy payment

    Available at all time and easy to recharge. No need to face language barrier in front of your eyes. Simply enough with paypal or your credit card.

    Just visit https://www.krsim.net/product/additional-top-up/20/ and order. That’s it. This is a part of Korea SIM Card web page(https://www.krsim.net).

    But if you want to recharge during weekend or at night, it is hard to recommend because the recharge will be activated as of the next working day. However, it enables to recharge real time during operating hours in weekdays.

    Recharge in CVS in real time

    Or you can also recharge at any convenience stores in South Korea such as 7-Eleven, GS25 and CU nationwide 24/7. It is truly real time recharge.

    7-Eleven and GS25 have easier way whick you can simply show your phone number of the SIM and pay the desired amounts to recharge. All the credit cards are available for payment. You might experience language barrier but in that case, you can show the note below to the reception staff.

    Recharge at CVS.jpg

    Otherwise, CU has PIN code-based top up system. (customer top-up on their own) Once the staff is done processing, you will get a receipt with PIN codes printed (11 digits). Then call 080-013-0114 (for free of charge) and follow the message on the line. English instruction will be provided.

    When recharge is finished, you will receive notification message in real time.

    How to Check Credit Balance

    Call ARS 080-012-0114 (for free of charge). Then you will receive SMS that contains the information of the remaining credit balance.

    Or, you can call 080-770-0114 and ask the staff there. They will let you know the credit balance.

    Do not buy Prepaid SIM card in Korea before check this out!

    All about prepaid SIM card, mobile solution for travelers to South Korea.

    version 1.06 (2017. 12. 19)

    Unlimited data SIM? 4G LTE Prepaid SIM? or WiFi Egg?


    General

    Almost near 5 years back, South Korea has been one of the inappropriate countries for tourists to buy prepaid SIM and use them in their phones while traveling. It was entirely due to 2G CDMA network (There’s no GSM network) and handset whitelist regime. At that time, all the mobile phones from abroad are required to registered before using it.

    But now, it is the best country offering best quality of mobile network that any visitors must experience. They adopted 3G WCDMA and 4G LTE global mobile technology standard in sequence. The quality and coverage of the LTE and WCDMA network is second to none in the world. It covers almost 99.9% of the whole region in South Korea with 4G LTE network, therefore it is not just a subsidiary option but a major tour package itself that is highly recommended to try.

    < KT LTE Coverage >

    .jpg

    It is even leading the mobile 5G global standard now. Especially, KT(Korea Telecom), the Official Olympic Partner eagerly tries to advertise its technological superiority for the world with upcoming Pyongchang Winter Olympic Games 2018.

    2018 평창동계올림픽 공식파트너 KT

    < Video clip about 5G and Pyongchang Winter Olympic Games 2018 of KT >

    So, this article would like to share every checkpoint to enjoy mobile network in Korea such as what product to choose or what to be aware.

    http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Korea_(South) shows the general introduction but it’s not only too massive to effectively search or compare information or products nor hard to notice but it also displays meaningless products from A to Z and it makes users harder to choose.

    If there’s any missing points or anywhere needs modifications, it’ll be constantly updated in the future with continuous feedbacks so please feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions. I’ll focus on getting best products based on that.


    Things to check

    Most of the mobile devices made outside of Korea are available to use in Korea. As long as the device allows to plug in the USIM regardless of its USIM size or type, all smartphones, tablet PCs, routers or laptops are all available.

    The reason its size or type doesn’t’ matter is because almost of them comes in 3-in-1 type (nano, micro and general) and you can pick the size your device allows. (Most of the devices produced recently are made with nano size.) But to make it more securely, let’s keep those 3 in mind.

    • The terminal has to be unlocked.

      No need to explain but literally make sure if the device you are willing to use is restricted to specific telecom company or specific country. If so, you can not use the device with Korean local SIM. But don’t worry. Most of the countries allow to unlock immediately by calling the current telecom company or production companies and offer them IMEI numbers of yours.

    • Check the network techniques and frequencies.

      It is not working if your phone is CDMA base or doesn’t allow SIM card to plug in. Only devices with LTE or WCDMA that allows SIM card in it are available. Also if the device supports Korean LTE frequencies, you can use LTE. If it doesn’t support LTE frequencies, it’ll be connected to 3G WCDMA.

      Among those networks, KT SIM cards for tourists are dominantly being used because of its frequencies. SKT has inconveniences to register your device information when activating, so it is rarely sold outside of the airport. LG U+ is CDMA based and therefore it’s limited to work! So both SKT and LG U+ are focusing more on WiFi router even at the airport booth. KT’s LTE frequencies use international LTE coverage (Band 3, Band 8, Band 1) and it can be used with no additional terminal registration issue.

    • If you have used Korean prepaid SIM card in your device before!

      In this case, the SIM in the past could be still connected to the device so it may not be able to use with new SIM in. If newly purchased SIM is not working, you may be requested to call your previous telecom company and ask for deactivation. For your information, if it’s stolen devices or listed on a international blacklist, it is restricted to use.


    Where to buy

    There are 3 ways to buy it. What you need to be aware is it is not absolutely impossible to purchase in town outside of the airport but pretty bothering.

    Some convenience stores like 7-Eleven in major places in Seoul or Haewoondae in Busan but you have to get to the store and in some cased you may have language barrier. Best recommendable idea is buying from those 3 ways. It is not recommended to leave the airport without not getting the SIM card.

    In fact, those 3 ways are the most dominant for visitors or foreigners coming to Korea which are purchase online prior to the arrival and pick up at the airport, or getting the SIM card from the airport telecom company service desk or airport convenience stores after arrival.

    • Online

      It is strongly suggested and cheapest way to purchase online, make a reservation and pick up at the airport after arrival.

      The most reliable and commonly used online SIM shopping malls are Korea SIM card( https://krsim.net ) and roaming kt( https://roaming.kt.com ) now. Especially Koea SIM card is highly recommended because it’s on market directly from the telecom company and has KT’s every SIM solution (Premium 4G LTE SIM and unlimited data SIM) for tourists with cheapest price reward system. From the actual experiences their CS was also very pleasant. Roaming KT offers data unlimited plan and smartphone rental services in the airport but no premium 4G LTE is provided.

      Other than KT, there are other data unlimited USIM sellers getting their products from overseas tour agencies such as funko, trazy, klook, or kkday. But even though you order there, you be received same product(kt unlimited data 5 days, 10 days and 30 days) with Korea SIM card. In addition, it’s not only provided from Korean telecom companies directly but also complicated to get in touch with CS when needed so not recommended.

      Also you may see other online small distributor’s shopping mall such as linkkorea or neokoSIM, but some products of theirs are available only by visiting a specific offline store in town like Hongdae so not inconvenient enough as well. In case of EG SIM, it used to be widely used but currently it is extremely hard to get connected to CS center. It is easy to find people who cursing the company in Facebook of EG SIM. (It was also the starting point for me to start this posting). Still, I find so many blog articles that introduces EG SIM. I can clearly say it is outdated article and forget EG SIM.

    • Airport Convenience Stores

      If you haven’t purchased the SIM card online in advance, getting one from the airport convenience store is another great way to get. There’s no differences from other countries where you can easily buy SIM cards from continence stores. It makes your trip easier and recommended to buy from airport convenience store whereas online purchase is needed to finalize reservation average 2~3 days ahead of the arrival.

      Currently Premium 4G LTE SIM card is on market and I was told that unlimited data plan will come out shortly as I requested. The price is a little higher than online purchase though. (About 10%)

      < Airport convenience stores where sells SIM >


      # Incheon International Airport : 1F Arrival Floor CU 1,2,3

      # Gimpo International Airport: 3F 7-Eleven
      (You can also get from Domestic Terminal or Subway Station “Gimpo
      Airport”)

      # Gimhae International Airport : 1F Arrival Floor, 7-Eleven

      # Jeju International Airport : 3F 7-Eleven


      < The landscape of 3 CVS in Incheon Int’l Airport >

      why_bg2_01

      CU convenience store at the 1F arrival floor in Incheon International Airport is one of the most actively purchasable places.

      Separate from purchase, you can activate the SIM card by yourself whenever you need. As written on the description, you can upload simple information to register and it’s ususally activated within around 15 minutes. In case of Inchon Airport, there’s red shirt wearing staff helping activation in front of the Gate 10 and CU convenience store where says SIM card on the board at the arrival floor so you can get help. (365 days 8AM-8PM)

      Recently, Korea SIM Card at CU in Incheon International Airport was introduced in famous Korean TV program, ‘어서와 한국은 처음이지: France episode’ this week. Please check from 16 minutes. You can check how to purchase.

    • Airport Roaming Desk

      Likewise, once you’re arrived at the airport and need the SIM card urgently, it is also one of the great idea to visit the telecom roaming desk. There are different roaming desks from different telecom companies (SKT, KT, LG U+) but KT is absolutely dominant for tourist SIM for foreigners as mentioned above. Again, SKT and LG U+ is specialized more on WiFi router rather than SIM card. In case of KT roaming desk in Incheon International Airport, it’s very busy with many crowds so you may need to wait more than an hour if need to. And there, it is a bit more expensive than online.

      Basically KT roaming center sells unlimited data SIM card but if you want to use voice, you can pay for the deposit money and return the SIM after use, and pay extra charged is there’s any when you’re returning the SIM. Other than this they also have WiFi router rental and smartphone rental services.


    What to buy

    Here, I suggest the Best SIM in South Korea for foreign traveler. You have to consider your preference when you’re choosing what to buy.

    First, the Best SIM I think is ‘4G LTE SIM from kt Mmobile’. With it, everyone can use his phone just like in his home country with world best high quality and wide coverage in Korea. It is not cheap price but fully worthy of it. It is clearly proud of its distinguished level from any other cheap SIMs. And you can never find any other plan that charge voice by second base ratio but this. With 1GB, you can talk 275 minutes to US. For call rate for other country, please refer to here.

    Second, for unlimited data SIM, I chose ‘the unlimited data SIM from kt(Korea Telecom). It is the best-seller SIM in Korea now. You can meet it through so many channels. In online, Korea SIM Card, funko, trazy, klook, and kkday all treat it and even you can even buy it at the kt desk on arrival floor in every International Airport. But I recommend you to buy it at Korea SIM Card. It declared Best Price Guarantee. And it is not one of distributors but also telecom company itself. So, You can trust customer services when in trouble.

    1. Want to experience Korean top quality of Data and Voice Calls (International/Domestic)

      CHOICE : 4G LTE Prepaid SIM (KT Mmobile)

      product package : 1GB, 2GB

      Main Features

      Max. 120Mbps 4G LTE everywhere in Korea with your own Smartphone
      No deposit / Offers 010 number (free incoming calls)
      Unlimited free for receiving calls and messages.
      All the mobile services including voice call, message and internet.
      Additional top-up available anytime Online or Offline(CVS)
      Available exclusively for foreigners, available for 30 days (no more extension, due to Korean government’s political restrictions)
      Available from Korea SIM Card ( https://krsim.net ) and offline stores such as CU, 7-Eleven.

      Price

      4G LTE 1GB – US$ 26.9 (Online, discounted), KRW 34,900 (Offline CVS)

      4G LTE 2GB – US$ 38.9 (Online, discounted), KRW 49,900 (Offline CVS)

    2. Unlimited data plan with rare voice calls?

      CHOICE : Unlimited data SIM (KT)

      destination_2_shop1_151355.jpgProduct package : 5 days, 10 days, 30 days

      Main Features

      Unlimited data available during the activated period
      Available voice talk using mobile messenger app and tethering
      Available both for foreigners and Koreans
      Compatible with all the SIM type (nano, micro and general)
      Its transmission speed 5Mbps is relatively slower than 4G LTE but as long as it’s not massive file downloading, it doesn’t bother to use.
      Available from Korea SIM Card ( https://krsim.net ) and offline such as KT roaming desks located in airports.

      Price

      Unlimited Data 5 days : US$ 22 (Online, discounted), KRW 27,500 (Offline in Airport)

      Unlimited Data 10 days : US$ 31 (Online, discounted), KRW 38,500 (Offline in Airport)

      Unlimited Data 30 days : US$ 57 (Online, discounted), KRW 71,500 (Offline in Airport)

    3. Cheapest internet with little convenience as long as it’s connected to network

      CHOICE : KT WiFi Router(Egg)

      Main Features

      Anytime, Anywhere, Turn on my own Wi-Fi Use unlimited data without worry
      Use your own tablet or phone access to the internet with 4G/LTE Unlimited data by connecting with WiFi Router
      Available both for foreigners and Koreans
      Have to make a security deposit, and return the device to have the deposit back.
      There will be a charge for a damaged or lost device.
      Available from KT roaming desk online ( http://roaming.kt.com ) and offline airport KT roaming desk.

      Price

      KRW 4,400 / day (Online, discounted), KRW 5,500 / day (Offline in airport)
      Deposit KRW 200,000

     

    Availability, from “EG mobile” to “kt Mmobile”: the History

    If you have been ever to Korea and have made choices for some prepaid SIM services for foreigners in the past 3 years, I guess that you may have heard the SIM card which is called “EG mobile”. It is the name of the company, that started prepaid SIM business for foreigners about 3 years ago, in 2013. It concentrated on the sales in shops around Incheon Int’l Airport, Korean convenience store GS25,  (in offline) and internet open market shop (in online).

    koread-day1-013
    EG SIM which offer 1GB data at KRW30,000

    At that time, there were no competitors in the market and the contents they provide was reasonable to the price. It was so small company that it didn’t worry about Korean government regulation which was not determined at that time (what condition must legally be fulfilled to activate the prepaid SIM for travelers… and so on), and invested aggressively in marketing their products whereas the potential competitors hesitated to enter the business worrying the uncertainty in policy and waited for the decision regarding the market regulation. Sometimes it was recklessly too brave to offend the government. Anyway, as the result, it became the name of prepaid SIM in Korea, itself. It’s the reason why you encounter the name so often in Google search results about prepaid SIM in Korea.

    korea telecom song jung gi
    One of the Korean Top Actors, Song Joong Gi became the model of kt(Korea Telecom)

    But as time went by, the direction of government regulation became somewhat concrete. At last, the subsidiary company of “kt” (korea telecom; the no. 1 telecommunication company who has the most subscribers in S. Korea), “kt Mmobile” began to play in the market and to take up the position in 2015. They have supplied their kt Mmobile SIM card for travelers to the Korean major 2 convenience stores, the Seven-Eleven(7-11) and CU since then and opened internet shopping site, krsim.net, too. Finally, travelers have become to enjoy the trustful services that the Korean top telecommunication company provides.

    kt Mmobile SIM which offer 1GB at KRW29,900

    On 1st. March, 2016. GS25 came to be out from the Arrival floor in Incheon Int’l Airport and EG mobile lost the place to sell their products there. Now the Airport has only three CU convenience store there, so kt Mmobile SIM card comes to be the most dominant and popular prepaid SIM card for traveler in S. Korea, now.

    prepaid-SIM-Incheon-Airport-Korea
    One of the 3 CU convenience stores on the arrival floor in the Incheon Int’l Airport, S. Korea

    What is the Best Prepaid SIM in S. Korea for Travelers

    수하물.jpg
    Arrival Floor (1F) in Incheon International Airport, Where Over 80% of All Prepaid SIM in S. Korea for Travelers Sales Occur

    What is the way to be connected in Korea as a short-time travelers with your smartphone, now? There are so many articles that compare one with another. But I found that the information they showed was so out of date that it could mislead travelers rather than helped them.

    I had been a researcher (as to Korean mobile telecommunication policy and industry sector) in the public institute for over 10 years, and am following the issue. Recently prepaid SIM market for travelers seems to be growing rapidly and catch my interest.

    Then, what on earth is the best prepaid SIM in S. Korea for travelers?

    Let’s find the answer from now on.