Sunday, June 10, 2012

Staying Connected in Seoul

It is recommended to check first the roaming rate to South Korea by your mobile service provider. Most roaming charges are heart attack inducing but sometimes telco companies have service agreements with each other for roaming service. This means that customers can get cheaper price for roaming. There may be certain conditions like only selecting a particular telco in South Korea to be eligible so make sure to check the fine prints.

UPDATE: Maxis customers in Malaysia can refer to this page. For RM 33/day users can access unlimited data provided by SK Telecom. Celcom customers have to pay a higher price at RM 38/day for unlimited data provided by Korea Telecom (KT). Refer this page for more info and T&C.

source: maxis

South Korea uses WCDMA technology for its mobile phone service. This means that until recently phones are locked with specific telcos and are not sim-card based. To stay connected tourists have to rent phones from phone rental companies and pay for days used in addition to the minutes used for calling. Phone rental companies may be hard to find in Seoul so it is a good idea to rent it at the airport.

source: s roaming

Recently telco in South Korea has started to offer sim-card to cater for the visitors market. Due to South Korea's strict identity regulation these sim cards can only be gotten from their official sales offices. Please visit this site and read this post for further information.

South Korea is famous for being the world's most widely internet-connected country. Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere even in subways. However while most cafes and restaurants provide free Wi-Fi to its customers (and you can piggyback on these connections if you are somewhere nearby), the most widely available Wi-Fi access points are those provided by telco companies and to connect to these Wi-Fi you need to be subscribed to their service first.

UPDATE: You can now easily subscribe to Wi-Fi service provided by olleh by buying the temporary Wi-Fi ID through convenience stores in South Korea. More info available here: Olleh Wifi

source: olleh wifi

With internet connection, you can use VoIP (Voice Over IP) applications to make your phone calls. One popular application is Skype. Get some Skype credits and you will be able to call phone lines.

To sum this entry up, there are four options for staying connected in Seoul: roaming with your mobile service provider, renting a phone, getting a prepaid sim card or signing up for Wi-Fi access. Good luck!


  1. hello, just want to know about oleh it can used our malaysian HP for this WiFi?

    1. Hi, yes, Olleh Wifi can be used with our Malaysian phones. You just need to buy the ID :)

  2. Hi, just want to share some info. Beside renting mobile phone you can also renting mobile wifi router with unlimited data plan. The rent fee per day quite expensive KRW 8,000 but it can connect up to 5-7 gadget depending on the provider and the router, so if you travel in group it will be cheaper and hassle free (for example if your group consist of 4 people you can rent 1 router and connect all your phone,tablet, or pad together and each of you need only to pay KRW 2,000 per day for unlimited data plan) just prepare powerbank to charge the router. If you on your own I think the better plan is to use prepaid WiFi ID by SK or KT
    T Wifi/SK Telecom
    Ticket Type Rate Access Time Allowed
    3-Hr. 1,000 won 3 hour after initial access
    24-Hr. 2,000 won 24 hours after initial access

    Olleh/KT Telecom
    Ticket Type Rate Access Time Allowed
    3-Hr. 1,100 won 3 hour after initial access
    24-Hr. 3,300 won 24 hours after initial access

    1. Hi Anon, thank you so much for sharing the details. I'm sure other readers will appreciate your information sharing. Alhamdulillah :)

    2. Hi, Can I use my own router instead of rental? so would I'm allowed to buy only the Wifi ID?

    3. The way that the Wifi ID works in Seoul is, they have multiple hotspots that are locked. You connect with the hotspot and log in with the purchased ID using your phone/laptop. So, I don't think it is possible to use your own router.

      If you want more detailed answers maybe you can tweet the Olleh staff here: @olleh_expats

  3. There is one place offers the portable wifi hotspot device (pocket WiFi) at a very low price.
    Try Daily rate is only 2.99 USD per day.