The Perfect Guide to Prepaid eSIMs for South Korea Travel in 2023

The ultimate and precise Tips for prepaid mobile solutions for Korea including coping with Q-Code and K-ETA system regarding Covid-19 Quarantine in Incheon International Airport in South Korea

Korea eSIM Red site image

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

  1. Buy Korea eSIM Red ( ) for Android or iPhone
    or Buy Korea eSIM Sky. ( ) for iPhone only
  2. Receive a voucher email with a QR code and a Korean phone number (in a few minutes).
  3. Contact to Q-Code system ( ) and input your information with the above phone number.
  4. Board a plane and landing at Incheon International Airport.
  5. Connect Airport Wi-Fi (SSID: Airport Wi-Fi) and Scan eSIM QR code.
  6. In case of Sky, Activate eSIM by Online. ( )
  7. Pass the immigration and Enter South Korea.
    * 1 day product is for data only without number

II. Phones without eSIM function (Phone number + Unlimited Voice, Messages and Data)

* Only can be activated with foreign passport.

  1. Purchase Korea SIM Blue Plus ( ). And input the hotel address for the SIM delivery.
  2. Receive confirmation email (in a few minutes)
  3. Ask the phone number for you through the messenger on 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 ( ) 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.

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

  1. Purchase Korea SIM Gold. ( )
  2. Receive voucher email including order number (in a few minutes)
  3. Contact to Q-Code system ( ) and input your information.
  4. Check ‘I do not possess a mobile phone’ and input the phone number of the hotel as an available contact phone number in Korea.
  5. Boarding a plane and landing at Incheon International Airport.
  6. Pass the immigration and collect baggage.
  7. Visit SK Telecom Desk and pick-up USIM (check the phone number).
    a. Terminal 1 : between Gate #9~#10; 24/7 operation
    b. Terminal 2 : between Gate #4~#5; 24/7 operation
  8. Update to the phone number for Korea SIM Gold on the Q-Code system.
    * 1 day product is for data only without number

IV. Promotion code for

When you try to order Korea eSIM Red or Sky, please use the promotion code, “medium23Jan” then, you can get additional discount benefit. It is unclear when it will be over.

Seoul, South Korea/ by Bundo Kim from Unsplash

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.


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 and order. That’s it. This is a part of Korea SIM Card web page(

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?


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 >


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. 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( ) and roaming kt( ) 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

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

    # Jeju International Airport : 3F 7-Eleven

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


    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 ( ) and offline stores such as CU, 7-Eleven.


    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 ( ) and offline such as KT roaming desks located in airports.


    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 ( ) and offline airport KT roaming desk.


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