Skip to Content

South Korea: 3 Best Prepaid SIM Cards Buying Guide (2022)

South Korea – known for Kpop, K-Beauty & insane fashion trends.

It is also the country of Samsung, which has a significant sway over South Korea in terms of politics.

While you may think that East Asia is always warm, it can snow in Seoul during winters.

One thing that South Korea is not known for being a cheap travel destination.

Especially compared to nearby East Asian countries and especially Southeast Asia.

So, what can you do in South Korea? A lot.

The Myeong-Dong shopping district is popular.

Nami Island is a must-see too; the same counts for Jeju Island.

And do not forget about the many palaces, like Gyeongbokgung Palace, and temples, like Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.

As you can see, there is no reason to be bored in South Korea, and there is a lot to share online on social media.

However, what you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in South Korea.

International roaming can be expensive, which is why I advocate for local prepaid SIM cards or eSIMs.

Those are often inexpensive and allow you to enjoy local rates.

In the case of South Korea, mobile data rates are not low.

In fact, they are the most expensive in Asia (and if you include the Middle East, the second-most expensive behind Yemen).

Even then, getting a local SIM card or eSIM will still be cheaper than international roaming.

So, how much do SIM cards cost in South Korea?

You can get a South Korean SIM card for 8800 KRW (6.70 USD) from SK Telecom in its stores. Tourist SIM cards (known as Korea SIM) by SK Telecom, KT & LG U+ are sold between 5.90 USD (1 day) to 384 USD (6 months) primarily at airports, including Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN).

You may think these prices are outrageous – even for Canadian standards.

However, most South Korean SIM cards sold to tourists include unlimited data (with or without a (daily) high-speed data allowance), which is cool.

But still… it is not pocket change.

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in South Korea. Let's go.

Buying a SIM Card in South Korea Guide (logos of SK Telecom, KT & LG U+)

Original publication: 17th of December 2019. Last updated: 18th of September 2022.


Table of Contents

In This Guide Show

Can You Buy a SIM Card in South Korea?

Anyone living in or visiting South Korea can buy a South Korean SIM card from the mobile network operators (SK Telecom (also known as T World), KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh) & LG U+) with some restrictions.

The main restriction is that you can only have one active SIM card in your name in South Korea.

At least… that is when you get a regular prepaid SIM card.

However, if you get one of the travel SIM cards or eSIMs (Korea SIM), then you can have up to four active SIM cards per mobile operator in your name.

Of course, this depends on the mobile operator and the SIM card line.

Besides that restriction, you are free to use South Korean SIM cards.

You do have to comply with the SIM card registration regulations.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Moreover, you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in South Korea).

Furthermore, you need to have a SIM-lock-free device.

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in South Korea?

You can get a South Korean SIM card in SK Telecom (also known as T World), KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh) & LG U+ stores. They are also sold at various airports, including Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN).

While you can get SIM cards from the mobile operators directly and convenience stores, the best offers are available at airports (which you can pre-book). Hence, you are better off getting a SIM card at airports.

You can buy a South Korean SIM card in the following airports:

  • Daegu – Daegu International Airport (TAE)
  • Gimpo/Kimpo – Gimpo International Airport (GMP)
  • Gimhea – Gimhae International Airport (PUS)
  • Incheon/Seoul – Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN)
  • Jeju – Jeju International Airport (CJU)

During normal times (when most/all COVID restrictions have been lifted in South Korea), SIM cards are also sold at Busan Harbor (Terminal F2) and Incheon Harbor (Terminal 1F).

You can expect to pay the following for South Korean SIM cards:

  • SK Telecom: 8800 KRW, although they are often sold together with a plan (then the price get waived)
  • KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh): “Free”, but always sold with a plan (between 8800 KRW and 108 900 KRW)
  • LG U+: “Free”, but always sold with a plan (between 27 500 KRW and 143 000 KRW)

South Korean SIM cards by SK Telecom, KT South Korea & LG U+ are sold under the Korea SIM label at international airports as:

  • Korea SIM Blue Plus (by KT South Korea)
  • Korea SIM Gold (by SK Telecom)
  • Korea SIM Purple (by SK Telecom)
  • Korea eSIM Red (by SK Telecom)
  • Korea eSIM Blue Sky (by LG U+ – for iPhone only (to make and receive calls))

These SIM cards and eSIMs can be pre-ordered on the Korea SIM website (often discounted) and are actually the best for short-term travelers (up to 3 months).

However, cheaper prepaid options are available if you go with SK Telecom and KT South Korea, but they may insist you need a Korean Alien Registration Certificate (ARC) to get a prepaid SIM card plan.

This is not the case – you can get regular Korean SIM cards on an international passport, but the validity of the SIM card is linked to your visa expiry date (but can, in some cases, be extended).

For up-to-date KRW:your currency (let's say USD) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz
Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Can You Use Your Phone in South Korea?

South Korea uses GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in South Korea. If your phone has a SIM card slot, then it supports GSMA (99% of the phones do support GSM nowadays).

Traditional European frequencies are used in South Korea, which are mostly used in ITU Regions 1 and 3 (Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe & Oceania).

The Americas (North-, Central– & South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2) use American frequencies, which differ from the European ones.

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

If you bought your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 and 3), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in South Korea.

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in South Korea or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in South Korea (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in South Korea

South Korea has three mobile operators offering prepaid services easily accessible for travelers:

  • SK Telecom (also known as T World)
  • KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)
  • LG U+

Note: LG U+ only sells tourist SIM cards (Korea Blue Sky) or eSIMs (Korea eSIM Sky) to travelers at airports or by pre-ordering them online (which often still have to be picked up at airports).

The following frequencies are used in South Korea:

  • 2G: N/A – shut down in June 2021
  • 3G: 2100 MHz (not for LG U+)
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5), 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
  • 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) & 28 GHz (n257) – not for prepaid customers… yet

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in South Korea, check out this page by Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

VoLTE & VoWiFi in South Korea

Both VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) and VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFi calling) are available in South Korea. All South Korean mobile operators (SK Telecom (also known as T World), KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh) & LG U+) offer both services.

This means that your phone does not have to downgrade to 2G or 3G when making a call in South Korea (unlike mobile operators that do not support VoLTE).

VoWiFi is, as the name implies, calling on a WiFi connection as opposed to on a cellular network.

5G NR in South Korea

Commercial 5G NR has been available in South Korea since April 2019. It is available on the SK Telecom (also known as T World), KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh) & LG U+ networks. However, none of the mobile operators offer 5G NR to prepaid customers (yet).

Best SIM Card in South Korea

If you want to buy the best SIM card in South Korea, I recommend going with SK Telecom. It is the fastest mobile operator in the country. Its Korea eSIM Red offer truly unlimited data. SK Telecom's tourist SIM cards (Korea SIM Gold and Korea SIM Purple) also offers unlimited data at slower speeds (5 Mbps and 10 Mbps).

Phone Travel Wiz Approved Seal
Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Best eSIM in South Korea

SK Telecom (through Korea eSIM Red) and LG U+ (also through Korea eSIM Sky) offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.

While KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh) also has eSIMs, they are currently not offered to prepaid customers.

Be aware that you can order the Korea eSIM Red (SK Telecom) and Korea eSIM Sky (LG U+) can be ordered on the Korea SIM website, which is the official collaborative brand between the Big Three before arriving in South Korea.

The same applies to the LG U+ Data & Voice and Data-only eSIMs, but they have to be ordered on the LG U+ rental service website.

One pro of going directly with LG U+ than the Korea eSIM Sky eSIM is that it can be extended.

All Korea SIM tourist SIM cards and eSIMs offer unlimited data for up to 6 months, although often at throttled speeds.

However, these eSIMs (and Korea SIM tourist SIM cards) are expensive, especially for those who want to stay in South Korea for a prolonged period or do not use a lot of data.

For example, if you plan to stay in South Korea for 30 days, you have to spend between 60.90 USD and 70 USD on the Korea SIM eSIMs – not cheap at all.

Moreover, the South Korean mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards (will be discussed later).

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for South Korea without personal detail capturing and lower prices if you do not need (throttled) unlimited data, you can get the South Korea eSIM from Nomad.

You have these four options:

  1. South Korea 1 GB eSIM for 7 days
  2. South Korea 2 GB eSIM for 30 days
  3. South Korea 3 GB eSIM for 30 days
  4. South Korea 5 GB eSIM for 30 days
South Korea eSIMs Nomad

As of August 2022, Nomad decreased the prices of all its South Korea plans (which may or may not have been done upon my request 😏).

On top of that, use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off (yes, even on the newly discounted prices)!

With these eSIMs, you can skip South Korea's SIM card registration scheme entirely and use it immediately upon arriving in South Korea!

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, travel eSIMs & travel SIM cards for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

If you have read any of my other SIM card buying guides, you know that I love Airalo eSIMs.

I still do – however, in the case of South Korea, Airalo partnered directly with LG U+ to offer the unlimited/5 days, unlimited/10 days & unlimited/30 days tourist eSIMs, which require registration too.

But as you can order these eSIMs directly from LG U+, with even more options (7 days, 15 days, 20 days & 60 days), there is no need to go through a middleman (except for better support – Airalo's is much better than LG U+'s by far).

However, Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM (which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds), following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries with six variants: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days.

Unlike the LG U+ eSIMs sold on the Airalo site, which require registration as per South Korean laws, the Asialink eSIM does not need registration and can be used in 13 Asian countries:

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Asialink eSIM can be used in 13 14 countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia:

With the Asialink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit.

TIP: Check out my eSIM lookup tool for an overview of local mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers and travel eSIMs I use and love (for eSIMs in South Korea and eSIMs worldwide).

Best International/Travel SIM Card for South Korea

If you want to buy the best international/travel SIM card for South Korea, I recommend going with SimCorner's South Korea Travel SIM cards. Consider SimCorner's Asia SIM cards to be used in South Korea and 20+ countries, including neighboring China, Japan & Taiwan.

South Korea Travel SIM Card SimCorner
© SimCorner

You have the following two South Korea Travel SIM cards:

  1. South Korea SIM card with 6 GB for 8 days in 30 countries
  2. South Korea SIM card with 6 GB for 15 days in 20+ countries
Asia Travel SIM Card (6 GB for 8 days) SimCorner
© SimCorner
Asia Travel SIM Card (6 GB for 15 days) SimCorner
© SimCorner

The SimCorner Asia SIM cards can be used in South Korea and the following other countries:

You can also get the SimCorner International Travel SIM card with 6 GB of data valid for 15 days to be used in South Korea and 100+ countries, including most of the ones mentioned above (Asia) and in the Americas, Europe & Oceania:

Instead of spending between 1 USD to 384 USD for SIM cards in each Southeast Asian country, get a SimCorner travel SIM card covering numerous countries for just one price!

Use discount code PHONETRAVELWIZ for extra savings!

SIM Card Registration in South Korea

SIM card registration with your passport information is mandatory in South Korea. It will be done at the point of sale.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

South Korea Mobile Speeds, Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of South Korea

South Korea is not the cheapest country in East Asia, but is also not the most expensive in the region.

However, the same cannot be said about mobile data rates – mobile data is not cheap at all.

So, how expensive is mobile data in South Korea?

The average price for 1 GB of data in South Korea is 16 463 KRW (12.55 USD), far above the Asia average of 1.47 USD. The world average is 3.12 USD.

In fact, South Korea is the 10th most expensive country for mobile data.

So yes… be prepared to spend some good money on data plans in South Korea 🥲.

The only Asian country with a higher average mobile data rate is Yemen – but that country is in a perpetual war.

Okay, you will pay top-dollar for data-featured plans, but will you at least get fast speeds?

Yes, you will.

South Korea's median mobile download speed is around 107 Mbps – more than triple the global median.

Only Norway (127 Mbps), the United Arab Emirates (120 Mbps) & Bulgaria (111 Mbps) have faster median download speeds than South Korea.

So yeah, the mobile operators here are not playing any games in terms of speeds 😏.

And South Korea's mobile download speeds have increased by 34% year on year.

Okay, now it is time to know which mobile operator is the fastest in South Korea.

That would be SK Telecom, with an average download speed of 127.8 Mbps. Followed by KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh – 96.6 Mbps) & LG U+ (94.7 Mbps).

The mobile operator with the best 5G NR speeds is also SK Telecom, with an average download speed of 206.5 Mbps. Followed by KT (168.1 Mbps) and LG U+ (160 Mbps).

Unfortunately, 5G NR is not available to prepaid customers (yet) 🥲.

So, what about coverage? Which mobile operator has the best coverage?

Honestly, the three mobile operators cover almost all of South Korea.

They have a 4G/LTE availability score of 99.8%.

So yes, you can expect to have reception almost anywhere.

Even though 5G NR is not available to prepaid customers yet, which mobile operator is winning the 5G NR race right now?

Currently, SK Telecom has the best 5G NR reach (7 on a 10-point scale), ahead of KT (6.6) and LG U+ (6.6).

Regarding 5G NR availability, in the places where 5G NR should be available, SK Telecom and KT are winning the race (31.6% and 32.1%, respectively) – LG U+ is still behind (27.2%).

So what about overall network performance by the South Korean mobile operators?

SK Telecom is the winner of the South Korea Mobile Experience Awards of June 2022, although its competitors are doing well.

Basically, you cannot go wrong with SK Telecom or its tourist SIM cards and eSIMs (Korea eSIM Red, Korea SIM Gold & Korea SIM Purple).

With reasonable to high SIM card prices, practically perfect nationwide coverage, blazing-fast mobile download speeds, and insanely high mobile data rates, you should have a smooth network experience in South Korea.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Currency in South Korea

50 000 South Korean Won Bank Note
© Bank of Korea/한국은행

South Korea uses the South Korean Won with the symbol KRW (which will be used throughout this guide).

However, prices are often listed as . For example, 25 KRW = ₩25.

For reference, below are some exchange rates between KRW and USD (US Dollars):

  • 10 KRW = 0.01 USD
  • 100 KRW = 0.10 USD
  • 1000 KRW = 0.75 USD
  • 10 000 KRW = 7.65 USD
  • 100 000 KRW = 76.50 USD
  • 1 000 000 KRW = 764.85 USD

For up-to-date KRW:your currency (let's say JPY – Japanese Yen) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.

Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).

I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Wise account FREE!

Wise Signup Banner

South Korean Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through SK Telecom (also known as T World), KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh) & LG U+, and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge/top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs)

With that being said, let’s see what South Korea has to offer to us.


SK Telecom (에스케이텔레콤 – T World)

SK Telecom South Korea Logo
© SK Telecom

SK Telecom (에스케이텔레콤), also known as T World, is the largest mobile operator in South Korea.

It is also the best mobile operator in the country.

SK Telecom also has the fastest mobile speeds.

It is the most expensive mobile operator in South Korea for postpaid plans.

However, SK Telecom's Korea SIM products (Korea SIM Gold, Korea SIM Purple & Korea eSIM Red) are reasonably priced compared to its competitors.

SK Telecom uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: N/A – shut down for 4G/LTE refarming
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
  • 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) & 28 GHz (n257) – not for prepaid customers (yet)
  • VoLTE: Yes (not for Korea SIM products)
  • VoWiFi: Yes (not for Korea SIM products)

This is what you will learn about SK Telecom:

* Coverage
* How to Get an SK Telecom SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – SK Telecom (T World)

SK Telecom has excellent coverage throughout South Korea.

This was confirmed by Opensignal.

Additionally, it has the best 5G NR availability (together with KT South Korea) and the best 5G NR reach.

Unfortunately, 5G NR is unavailable to prepaid customers or the Korea SIM SIM cards or eSIMs… yet.

Below is SK Telecom's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – SK Telecom (T World)

You can get an SK Telecom SIM card, called PPS, for 8800 KRW (which needs a 5000 KRW top-up), in SK Telecom (T World) stores (not at Roaming Centers). The tourist SIM cards and eSIMs (Korea SIM Gold, Korea SIM Purple & Korea eSIM Red) are sold at various international airports and harbors, including Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN), for between 5.90 USD to 384 USD.

SK Telecom South Korea Korea SIM Gold Pick Up Locations
© SK Telecom/Korea SIM

What is the difference between the Korea SIM Gold SIM card, Korea SIM Purple SIM card & Korea eSIM Red?

  • The Korea SIM Gold SIM card is a SIM card with a South Korean phone number (for incoming calls and SMS only) offering unlimited data @ 10 Mbpssuitable for short-term use (up to 30 days)
  • The Korea SIM Purple SIM card is a data-only SIM card without a South Korean phone number offering 1 GB of high-speed data per day. After using up your 1 GB high-speed data allowance, you get unlimited data @ 5 Mbpssuitable for long-term use (between 60 days and 180 days)
  • The Korea eSIM Red eSIM is an eSIM with a South Korean phone number (for incoming calls and SMS only) offering unlimited data with no speed capperfect for travelers with an eSIM-compatible phone
SK Telecom South Korea Korea SIM Gold SIM Card
© SK Telecom/Korea SIM
SK Telecom South Korea Korea SIM Purple SIM Card
© SK Telecom/Korea SIM

Below are the six Korea SIM Gold options (up to 30 days) at regular prices (although you get a discount when you pre-order the SIM card online) – these SIM cards are charged in USD instead of KRW:

PriceData 1Validity
6.10 USDUnlimited1 day
16.20 USDUnlimited3 days
24.50 USDUnlimited5 days
34.50 USDUnlimited10 days
54.50 USDUnlimited20 days
64 USDUnlimited30 days

1 @ 10 Mbps

SK Telekom South Korea Korea Gold SIM Card Prices

Below are the five Korea SIM Purple options (between 60 and 180 days) at regular prices (although you get a discount when you pre-order the SIM card online) – these SIM cards are charged in USD instead of KRW:

PriceData 1Validity
128 USD1 GB/day (60 GB)60 days
192 USD1 GB/day (90 GB)90 days
256 USD1 GB/day (120 GB)120 days
320 USD1 GB/day (150 GB)150 days
384 USD1 GB/day (180 GB)180 days

1 +unlimited data @ 5 Mbps after exhausting your high-speed data allowance

SK Telecom South Korea Korea SIM Purple SIM Card Prices

Unless you plan on getting a Korean Alien Registration Certificate (ARC) before your up to 90-day visa-free entry expires (180 days for Canadians), the Korea SIM Purple is the only SIM card allowing you to use it for more than 90 days.

The regular SK Telecom SIM card, and the SIM cards of KT South Korea and LG U+, do not allow travelers to use their prepaid SIM cards for longer than 90 days (including Canadians) when registered on an international passport unless very specific and strict conditions are met.

Moreover, the Korea SIM Purple SIM card is the only South Korean tourist SIM card that can be extended (and it has to be done online for 45.80 USD/30 days).

Below are the six Korea eSIM Red options (up to 30 days) at regular prices (although you get a discount when you pre-order the eSIM online) – these SIM cards are charged in USD instead of KRW:

PriceDataValidity
5.90 USDUnlimited1 day
16.10 USDUnlimited3 days
24.60 USDUnlimited5 days
34.40 USDUnlimited10 days
54 USDUnlimited20 days
63.80 USDUnlimited30 days
SK Telecom South Korea Korea eSIM Red Prices
  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Note that the South Korean mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Moreover, the Korea SIM eSIMs are pricey for those who want to stay in South Korea for a prolonged period or do not use a lot of data.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM, you can go with the South Korea eSIMs from Nomad (1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/30 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days).

South Korea eSIMs Nomad

As of August 2022, Nomad decreased the prices of all its South Korea plans (which may or may not have been done upon my request 😏).

On top of that, use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off (yes, even on the newly discounted prices)!

Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, with six variants: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days to be used in South Korea and 12 other Asian countries:

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, travel eSIMs & travel SIM cards for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Note that SK Telecom offers VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G)) if your phone supports it and if you have enabled it in the settings (but not for the Korea SIM tourist SIM cards).

Oh, you can also use VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi) unless you have a tourist SIM card or eSIM.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – SK Telecom (T World)

SK Telecom top-up vouchers for the PPS SIM card (not for the Korea SIM tourist SIM cards) are sold in SK Telecom (T World) stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout South Korea.

To top up your SK Telecom SIM card, call 01052004949 and follow the instructions (not for the Korea SIM tourist SIM cards).

To extend the validity of your Korea SIM Purple SIM card, use this page (cannot be used for the Korea Gold SIM card or Korea eSIM Red).

Call 01052004949 to check your SK Telecom balance (not for the Korea SIM tourist SIM cards).

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – SK Telecom (T World)

SK Telecom has only one data-featured plan: PPS (Pre-Paid-Service) Smartphone Plans. It is a data plan (without 5G NR access).

All Viettel Mobile plans can be activated by dialing *098#.

I will list all the prices in KRW (South Korean Won).

To convert KRW to your currency (let's say USD) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Signup Banner

The following PPS (Pre-Paid-Service) Smartphone Plans are available, which initially have to be activated in an SK Telecom (T World) store:

PriceDataValidity
2000 KRW100 MB1 year
10 000 KRW500 MB1 year
15 000 KRW1 GB1 year
19 000 KRW2 GB1 year
33 000 KRW5 GB1 year
SK Telekom T World South Korea PPS (Pre-Paid-Service) Smartphone Plans

APN/Internet Settings – SK Telecom (T World)

  • Name: SK Telecom
  • APN: web.sktelecom.com

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange


KT South Korea (주식회사 케이티 – formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

KT South Korea Logo
© KT South Korea

KT South Korea (주식회사 케이티), just KT and formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh, is the second-largest mobile operator in South Korea.

It has the best 5G NR availability together with SK Telecom.

Unfortunately, 5G NR is not available to prepaid customers… yet 🥲.

KT uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: N/A – shut down for 4G/LTE refarming
  • 3G: 2100 MHz – shut down for 4G/LTE & 5G NR refarming throughout 2022
  • 4G/LTE: 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2100 MHz (Band 1)
  • 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) & 28 GHz (n257) – not for prepaid customers (yet)
  • VoLTE: Yes (not for Korea SIM Blue)
  • VoWiFi: Yes (not for Korea SIM Blue)

This is what you will learn about KT:

* Coverage
* How to Get a KT SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

KT has excellent coverage throughout South Korea.

This was confirmed by Opensignal.

Additionally, it has the best 5G NR availability (together with SK Telecom and the best 5G NR reach.

Unfortunately, 5G NR is unavailable to prepaid customers or the Korea SIM SIM cards… yet.

Below is KT's coverage map:

KT Olleh South Korea Coverage Map 2022
Source

SIM Card Price – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

You can get a KT, called SIMple LTE, for “free”, although a top-up or plan purchase is required, in KT stores (especially Global Stores – (1/2). The tourist SIM card, Korea SIM Blue Plus, is sold at various international airports and harbors, including Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN), for between 28 USD to 210 USD.

KT Olleh South Korea Korea SIM Gold SIM Cards
© KT South Korea/Korea SIM

Below are the seven Korea SIM Blue Plus options (up to 90 days) at regular prices (although you get a discount when you pre-order the SIM card online) – these SIM cards are charged in USD instead of KRW:

PriceData 1Local MinutesLocal SMSValidity
28 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (10 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited5 days
34 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (14 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited7 days
38 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (20 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited10 days
48 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (30 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited15 days
70 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (60 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited30 days
140 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (120 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited60 days
210 USD10 GB + 2 GB/day (180 GB)UnlimitedUnlimited90 days

1 +unlimited data @ 3 Mbps after exhausting your data allowance

KT Olleh South Korea Korea SIM Card Blue Plus Prices

Be aware that the Korea SIM Blue Plus cannot be extended.

The regular KT SIMple SIM card, and the SIM cards of SK Telecom and LG U+, do not allow travelers to use their prepaid SIM cards for longer than 90 days (including Canadians who have visa-free entry for up to 180 days) when registered on an international passport unless very specific and strict conditions are met.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Note that the South Korean mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Moreover, the Korea SIM eSIMs are pricey for those who want to stay in South Korea for a prolonged period or do not use a lot of data.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM, you can go with the South Korea eSIMs from Nomad (1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/30 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days).

South Korea eSIMs Nomad

As of August 2022, Nomad decreased the prices of all its South Korea plans (which may or may not have been done upon my request 😏).

On top of that, use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off (yes, even on the newly discounted prices)!

Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, with six variants: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days to be used in South Korea and 12 other Asian countries:

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, travel eSIMs & travel SIM cards for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Note that KT offers VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G)) if your phone supports it and if you have enabled it in the settings (but not for the Korea SIM tourist SIM cards).

Oh, you can also use VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi) unless you have the Korea SIM Blue Plus tourist SIM card.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

KT top-up vouchers for the SIMple SIM card (not for the Korea SIM Blue Plus tourist SIM cards) are sold in KT stores (1/2), grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout South Korea.

To top up your KT SIM card, call 0162006500 or 0182006500 and follow the instructions (not for the Korea SIM tourist SIM cards).

Call 0162006500 or 0182006500 to check your KT balance (not for the Korea SIM Blue Plus tourist SIM cards).


Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

KT has six data-featured plans for the SIMple SIM card (not for the Korea SIM Blue Plus SIM card):

All KT plans can be activated at an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2).

I will list all the prices in KRW (South Korean Won).

To convert KRW to your currency (let's say USD) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Signup Banner

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

순 모두다올레(3G) (Pure Moda Olle (3G)) PLans – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

The 순 모두다올레(3G) (Pure Moda Olle (3G)) plans are combo bundles with data (without 5G NR and at 3G speeds), minutes & SMS.

Visit an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2) to activate 순 모두다올레(3G):

PricePlanDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesLocal SMSValidity
30 800 KRW순 모두다올레28 (3G)750 MB“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes/1000 calls130 minutes“Unlimited”, 500 SMS30 days
37 400 KRW순 모두다올레34 (3G)1.5 GB“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes/1000 calls185 minutes“Unlimited”, 500 SMS30 days
45 100 KRW순 모두다올레41 (3G)2.5 GB“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes/1000 calls250 minutes“Unlimited”, 500 SMS30 days

Unused data will roll over when your plan auto-renews or when you renew your plan before it expires.

데이터ON (LTE Data On) Plans – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

The 데이터ON (LTE Data On) Plans are combo bundles with data (without 5G NR), minutes & SMS.

Visit an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2) to activate 데이터ON:

PricePlanDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
49 000 KRW톡/Talk3 GB 1“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes/1000 calls“Unlimited”, 500 SMS30 days
69 000 KRW비디오/Video100 GB 2“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes/1000 calls“Unlimited”, 500 SMS30 days
89 000 KRW프리미엄/PremiumUnlimited“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes/1000 calls“Unlimited”, 500 SMS30 days

1 +unlimited data @ 1 Mbps after exhausting your data allowance
2 +unlimited data @ 5 Mbps after exhausting your data allowance

KT Olleh South Korea LTE Data On Plans
순 완전무한(3G) (Purely Infinite (3G)) Plans – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

The 순 완전무한(3G) (Purely Infinite (3G)) plans are combo bundles with data (without 5G NR and at 3G speeds), minutes & SMS.

Visit an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2) to activate 순 완전무한(3G):

PricePlanDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
56 100 KRW순 완전무한51 (3G)5 GBUnlimitedUnlimited30 days
67 100 KRW순 완전무한61 (3G)10 GB 1UnlimitedUnlimited30 days
84 700 KRW순 완전무한77 (3G)17 GB 1UnlimitedUnlimited30 days
108 900 KRW순 완전무한99 (3G)25 GB 1UnlimitedUnlimited30 days

1 +unlimited [email protected] 3 Mbps after exhausting your data allowance

KT Olleh South Korea Purely Infinite (3G) Plans
LTE 데이터충전 (LTE Data Charging) Plans – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

The LTE 데이터충전 (LTE Data Charging) plans are data bundles (without 5G NR).

Visit an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2) to activate LTE 데이터충전:

PricePlanDataValidity
1980 KRW데이터충전 100 MB100 MB30 days
5940 KRW데이터충전 300 MB300 MB30 days
8800 KRW데이터충전 500 MB500 MB30 days
14 300 KRW데이터충전 1 GB1 GB30 days
19 800 KRW데이터충전 2 GB2 GB30 days
KT Olleh South Korea LTE Data Charging Plans
SIMple 충전 데이터플러스 (SIMple Charge Data Plus) Plans – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

The SIMple 충전 데이터플러스 (SIMple Charge Data Plus) Plans are data bundles (without 5G NR).

Visit an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2) to activate SIMple 충전 데이터플러스:

PricePlanDataValidity
5500 KRWSIMple 충전 데이터 플러스 100M100 MB30 days
8800 KRWSIMple 충전 데이터 플러스 300M300 MB30 days
11 000 KRWSIMple 충전 데이터 플러스 500M500 MB30 days
16 500 KRWSIMple 충전 데이터 플러스 1G1 GB30 days
22 000 KRWSIMple 충전 데이터 플러스 2G2 GB30 days
38 500 KRWSIMple 충전 데이터 플러스 4G4 GB30 days
KT Olleh South Korea SIMple Charge Data Plus Plans
LTE SIMple충전 데이터플러스 (LTE SIMple Charge Data Plus) Plans – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

The LTE SIMple충전 데이터플러스 (LTE SIMple Charge Data Plus) plans are data bundles (without 5G NR).

Visit an LTE terminal in a KT store (1/2) to activate LTE SIMple충전 데이터플러스:

PricePlanDataValidity
8800 KRWLTE SIMple충전 데이터플러스 500M500 MB30 days
14 300 KRWLTE SIMple충전 데이터플러스 1GB1 GB30 days
19 800 KRWLTE SIMple충전 데이터플러스 2GB2 GB30 days
KT Olleh South Korea LTE SIMple Charge Data Plus Plans

APN/Internet Settings – KT South Korea (formerly Korea Telekom & Olleh)

  • Name: KT
  • APN: alwayson.ktfwing.com

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange


LG U+ (LG유플러스)

LG U+ South Korea Logo
© LG U+

LG U+ (LG유플러스), officially LG U+, but I am stubborn and will write it as +, is the smallest mobile operator in South Korea.

It has the fastest 4G/LTE upload speeds in the country.

LG U+ uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: N/A – never had it
  • 3G: N/A – shut down for 4G/LTE & 5G NR refarming throughout 2022
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
  • 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) – not for prepaid customers (yet)
  • VoLTE: Yes
  • VoWiFi: Yes

This is what you will learn about LG U+:

* Coverage
* How to Get an LG U+ SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – LG U+

LG U+ has excellent coverage throughout South Korea.

This was confirmed by Opensignal.

Below is LG U+' coverage map:

SIM Card Price – LG U+

You can get an LG U+ tourist data-only SIM card and eSIM for between 27 500 KRW to 143 000 KRW from select resellers (not in LG U+ stores) and airports, including Seoul-Incheon International Airport (ICN). The Korea eSIM Sky can be obtained online for between 22.90 USD to 121.80 USD (but the incoming call and SMS features only work on iPhones).

LG U+ South Korea Data SIM Card
© LG U+

Below are the seven Korea eSIM Sky options (up to 60 days) at regular prices (although there is “permanent” promotion going on when purchased online) – these SIM cards are charged in USD at airports and in KRW from resellers:

PriceData 2Validity
22.90 USD/27 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (15 GB)5 days
30.30 USD/35 000 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (21 GB)7 days
32.60 USD/38 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (30 GB)10 days
46.80 USD/55 00 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (45 GB)15 days
51.20 USD/60 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (60 GB)20 days
60.90 USD/71 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (90 GB)30 days
99 000 KRW 1“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (120 GB)40 days
121.80 USD/143 000 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (180 GB)60 days

1 from resellers only
2 +unlimited data @ 5 Mbps after exhausting your daily high-speed data allowance

LG U+ South Korea Korea Blue eSIM Sky Prices

Note: at airports, the salespeople will often only sell you the Korea eSIM Sky instead of the LG U+ data-only SIM card – instead, they will direct you to another stall for other SIM cards (Korea SIM Blue, Korea SIM Purple & Korea SIM Gold), so be aware of this.

LG U+ South Korea Data eSIM
© LG U+

You will not be able to find the LG U+ Voice & Data (iPhones only) and Data-only eSIMs from LG U+ stores.

Moreover, LG U+ does not sell prepaid SIM cards to tourists.

One pro compared to most Korea SIM tourist SIM cards and eSIMs is that the LG U+ Voice & Data and data-only SIM cards and eSIMs can be extended (but not the Korea eSIM blue tourist eSIMs).

You can extend your SIM card and eSIM online (not at airports or LG U+ stores):

PriceExtension
27 500 KRW5 days
35 000 KRW7 days
38 500 KRW10 days
55 00 KRW15 days
60 500 KRW20 days
71 500 KRW30 days
99 000 KRW40 days
143 000 KRW60 days
LG U+ South Korea (e)SIM (Card) Extension

If this sounds like too much effort, you can also get the LG U+ eSIMs from Airalo (unlimited/5 days, unlimited/10 days & unlimited/30 days).

As SIM card registration is mandatory in South Korea and the LG U+ eSIMs sold on Airalo are done in direct partnership with LG U+, getting one of these eSIMs from Airalo will not circumvent the registration requirements (you still have to – unlike most Airalo eSIMs).

Luckily, the registration scheme is quick and effortless – but I have some other eSIM recommendations for you later on if SIM card registration is a dealbreaker.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Note that the South Korean mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Moreover, the Korea SIM eSIMs are pricey for those who want to stay in South Korea for a prolonged period or do not use a lot of data.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM, you can go with the South Korea eSIMs from Nomad (1 GB/7 days, 2 GB/30 days, 3 GB/30 days & 5 GB/30 days).

South Korea eSIMs Nomad

As of August 2022, Nomad decreased the prices of all its South Korea plans (which may or may not have been done upon my request 😏).

On top of that, use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off (yes, even on the newly discounted prices)!

Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, with six variants: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/30 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/30 days, 50 GB/90 days & 100 GB/180 days to be used in South Korea and 12 other Asian countries:

Asialink Asia eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.

  • Find out about the best local eSIMs, travel eSIMs & travel SIM cards for every country (lookup tool)
Best Local & Travel eSIMs Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Note that LG U+ offers VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G)) if your phone supports it and if you have enabled it in the settings.

Oh, you can also use VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi).

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – LG U+

LG U+ does not sell prepaid SIM cards to tourists.

Instead, the only thing you can do with your unlimited data data-only SIM card or eSIM is to extend its validity online:

PriceExtension
27 500 KRW5 days
35 000 KRW7 days
38 500 KRW10 days
55 00 KRW15 days
60 500 KRW20 days
71 500 KRW30 days
99 000 KRW40 days
143 000 KRW60 days
LG U+ South Korea (e)SIM (Card) Extension

Check your LG U+ balance online.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – LG U+

Besides the benefits offered with the LG U+ Voice & Data, Data-Only & Korea eSIM Sky SIM cards and eSIMs, no other plans are available with LG U+ because it does not sell regular prepaid SIM cards to travelers.

But I will list all the offers once again for your convenience:

PriceData 2Validity
22.90 USD/27 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (15 GB)5 days
30.30 USD/35 000 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (21 GB)7 days
32.60 USD/38 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (30 GB)10 days
46.80 USD/55 00 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (45 GB)15 days
51.20 USD/60 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (60 GB)20 days
60.90 USD/71 500 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (90 GB)30 days
99 000 KRW 1“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (120 GB)40 days
121.80 USD/143 000 KRW“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (180 GB)60 days

1 from resellers only
2 +unlimited data @ 5 Mbps after exhausting your daily high-speed data allowance

LG U+ South Korea Data (e)SIM (Card) Plans

APN/Internet Settings – LG U+

  • Name: lguplus
  • APN: internet.lguplus.co.kt

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange


The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in South Korea

Getting a SIM card from SK Telecom (including Korea SIM Gold, Korea SIM Purple & Korea eSIM Red) would do you well when considering a South Korea SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other Asian Countries

Visiting other countries in Asia? Check out my SIM card buying guides for individual Asian countries:


Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

Support Phone Travel Wiz

It takes a lot of time to analyze, translate & review the SIM card options worldwide (especially to test them out).

Your support helps me keep producing impartial content by eliminating the need to recommend international SIM cards as the best local SIM card (but some of them CAN be useful).

Every Ko-Fi donation, one-time or monthly, helps me to spend more time creating local SIM card buying guides.

Support Me on Ko-Fi Orange

Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience

Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel!

Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises & accommodation.

Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling?

In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services & products I have for this site and my YouTube channel.

If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cardsinternational SIM cardsmobile hotspots, or roam internationally.

Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

Sign Up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter

Get updates related to the newest guides, videos & recommended products and services.

Moreover, I send you many tips and tricks on saving money while traveling every now and then.

Let's Be Social

Did you know that I have a YouTube channel covering everything you need to know about traveling with your phone?

A lot of useful videos are uploaded multiple times a week, and you do not want to miss out on them!

Learn More About Who Adu Actually Is

Who is the guy behind Phone Travel Wiz? Well, find out on the Ernest Adu about page!

Tags