Mobile/Cellular Telephones in South Korea

Find out how to get yourself a mobile telephone in South Korea...

A mobile telephone is called a hand phone in Korea. All Korean mobiles (over 3G) use SIM cards. However, a mobile telephone that was not bought in Korea will not work in Korea because of the different radio waves.

To get a mobile telephone contract, take the following documents to a mobile telephone service provider:

  • Passport
  • Foreign registration card
  • Korean bank account details (or a credit card issued in Korea) - for the purpose of the monthly direct debit

Some providers may request a security deposit from foreigners, while others only request proof of identification and bank account details. There are different packages available although standard plans include a number of free calls per day and text messages. Additional costs may arise if using Internet with a cell phone or downloading content.

Mobile telephone providers

  • KT (From 08 December 2012, KT will end its 2G mobile service, and will only provide 3G and 4G mobile services)
    Tel: 100
  • LG U+
    Tel: 101
  • SK Broadband
    Tel: 106 or 080 252 5011
  • For further information about getting a SIM card in Korea: Click here

Getting a pre-paid mobile telephone

A pre-paid mobile telephone and top-up credits can be bought without a contract. To get a pre-paid mobile telephone, take the following document to a service provider:

  • Passport or foreign registration card

Renting a mobile telephone

The procedure is the same as buying a pre-paid mobile telephone.

  • For information about renting a mobile telephone in Korea: Click here

Lost or stolen mobile telephones

The Korean government runs a 'Finding Lost Mobile' centre in collaboration with Korean post offices. When a phone is stolen or lost, report it on Handphone.

Any phone that is found is sent to the local post office and the owner is traced.

Handphone also provides a free trace and lock programme, which is called Smart On. It allows users to trace and lock their mobile phone if it is lost or stolen. To apply for this service, a user registers their mobile telephone number on the website.

A lost or stolen mobile telephone should also be reported to the service provider.

  • For the 'Find Lost Mobile Phone' page in English: Click here
  • To report a lost mobile telephone or to register for the Smart On service: Click here (in Korean)