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Unlocked International Cell Phone + SIM rental (S. Korea)

Unlocked International Cell Phone + SIM rental (S. Korea)

Old Jul 5, 11, 4:07 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Unlocked International Cell Phone + SIM rental (S. Korea)

Hi,

I'm going to South Korea next week and I'd like to be able to call/text locals (I have several friends who are there for summer) relatively inexpensively. I will be there for two weeks, with potential future trips to both South Korea and Japan. Using roaming on my current cell phone is not an option for me. I'm willing to spend a bit of money for convenience, but I don't want to be ripped off.

There's a decent amount of information for European SIMs but not a whole lot for South Korea on this board (that I can find).

Options I'm considering:
1) Buy an international unlocked phone, and try to buy a prepaid Korean SIM.
However, in this thread: <http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-technology/1146043-us-based-nokia-n8-korea-japan.html> somebody mentions that you can't do the "buy SIM and go" thing in S. Korea, specifically, as of late 2010. Does anybody know if this has changed, and if so, what type of phone I would need in order to do this? Is it possible to buy whitelisted phones ahead of time?

2) Buy a standard ATT/Verizon/Somebody else "Pay As You Go" phone with roaming.

3) Do one of those mobal/whoever international phone rentals, which are apparently fairly expensive/rip-offey.

4) Try to go to Korea and buy/rent a phone once I get there - expensive?

Any suggestions? I'm willing to spend a bit of money for convenience, and I only really need to be able to text local (South Korean) numbers.

Thanks!
Justin Lee
justinrlee is offline  
Old Jul 5, 11, 6:59 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,516
Korea is similar to Japan. 2100mhz HSPA works there, but true GSM does not. You can't purchase a SIM card, but there are companies that will rent you one at the airport. Alternatively, look at eKit.com which gives you free incoming on a UK phone number, $0.19 a minute incoming on a US number. Data is a non-option with this SIM.

Sroaming.com offers Korean cellphone rentals at the airport.

Originally Posted by justinrlee View Post
Hi,

I'm going to South Korea next week and I'd like to be able to call/text locals (I have several friends who are there for summer) relatively inexpensively. I will be there for two weeks, with potential future trips to both South Korea and Japan. Using roaming on my current cell phone is not an option for me. I'm willing to spend a bit of money for convenience, but I don't want to be ripped off.

There's a decent amount of information for European SIMs but not a whole lot for South Korea on this board (that I can find).

Options I'm considering:
1) Buy an international unlocked phone, and try to buy a prepaid Korean SIM.
However, in this thread: <http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-technology/1146043-us-based-nokia-n8-korea-japan.html> somebody mentions that you can't do the "buy SIM and go" thing in S. Korea, specifically, as of late 2010. Does anybody know if this has changed, and if so, what type of phone I would need in order to do this? Is it possible to buy whitelisted phones ahead of time?

2) Buy a standard ATT/Verizon/Somebody else "Pay As You Go" phone with roaming.

3) Do one of those mobal/whoever international phone rentals, which are apparently fairly expensive/rip-offey.

4) Try to go to Korea and buy/rent a phone once I get there - expensive?

Any suggestions? I'm willing to spend a bit of money for convenience, and I only really need to be able to text local (South Korean) numbers.

Thanks!
Justin Lee
Dubai Stu is offline  
Old Jul 5, 11, 8:44 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Seattle, Washington USA
Posts: 972
Originally Posted by justinrlee View Post
Hi,

I'm going to South Korea next week and I'd like to be able to call/text locals (I have several friends who are there for summer) relatively inexpensively. I will be there for two weeks, with potential future trips to both South Korea and Japan. Using roaming on my current cell phone is not an option for me. I'm willing to spend a bit of money for convenience, but I don't want to be ripped off.

There's a decent amount of information for European SIMs but not a whole lot for South Korea on this board (that I can find).

Options I'm considering:
1) Buy an international unlocked phone, and try to buy a prepaid Korean SIM.
However, in this thread: <http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-technology/1146043-us-based-nokia-n8-korea-japan.html> somebody mentions that you can't do the "buy SIM and go" thing in S. Korea, specifically, as of late 2010. Does anybody know if this has changed, and if so, what type of phone I would need in order to do this? Is it possible to buy whitelisted phones ahead of time?

2) Buy a standard ATT/Verizon/Somebody else "Pay As You Go" phone with roaming.

3) Do one of those mobal/whoever international phone rentals, which are apparently fairly expensive/rip-offey.

4) Try to go to Korea and buy/rent a phone once I get there - expensive?

Any suggestions? I'm willing to spend a bit of money for convenience, and I only really need to be able to text local (South Korean) numbers.

Thanks!
Justin Lee
South Korea at least for their 2G system uses CDMA but not the same CDMA as is used in North America.

They also have W-CDMA which is what many smartphones use. 3G 2100.

Depending on whether you think you'll be making more than one trip to South Korea you could buy a prepaid phone for use there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_...in_South_Korea
weekilter is offline  
Old Jul 6, 11, 5:28 am
  #4  
DH
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Ashburn, VA (IAD/DCA/BWI)
Posts: 2,695
S Roaming Android Phone Rental

Check out S Roaming's Android phone rental (2,700 KRW/day) with unlimited data (5,000 KRW/day). Its text rate is 100 KRW/message, call rate is 90 KRW/10 sec and incoming calls are free. I used it on March trip and will be using it again next week. Additionally it takes online reservation so you can reserve one before you get to Korea.

P.S. S Roaming is available only at Inchon and Gimpo airports.
DH is offline  
Old Jul 7, 11, 6:25 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 134
I'm trying out S-Roaming on my upcoming trip with the unlimited internet. How was the coverage?
transconsan is offline  
Old Jul 9, 11, 12:59 am
  #6  
DH
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Ashburn, VA (IAD/DCA/BWI)
Posts: 2,695
Originally Posted by transconsan View Post
I'm trying out S-Roaming on my upcoming trip with the unlimited internet. How was the coverage?
I used in Seoul so I didn't notice any coverage problem. I think S-Roaming uses one of Korea's major wireless network.

Last edited by DH; Jul 9, 11 at 3:26 am
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