Getting a Prepaid SIM Card in Korea

Finally, you can get a SIM card in Korea to plug into your unlocked phone – without the usual three-day wait – and be immediately connected with friends and family around the world.

However long you’re planning on being in Korea, The Arrival Store offers SIM cards on affordable long-term plans or convenient short-term rentals–waiting for you when you arrive.  Until recently, getting a SIM card in Korea meant a three-day wait, and most phones were not compatible with Korean networks. But now, you can get a SIM card sent to your home or workplace the day you arrive in Korea (or even have one waiting for you at the airport), and be instantly connected.

In this post, we’ll tell you how to find out whether your phone is compatible; discuss the ideal SIM card user; and compare phones, plans, and providers in Korea.

  • Ideal Use
  • Requirements
  • Service Comparison

Ideal Use

SIM cards allow you to bring your unlocked, international phone into Korea and plug it straight into the network.

The people below might find Rental SIM cards to be the most economical and efficient way of connecting to Korean cell networks:

  • People visiting Korea for a short period (less than 30 days)
    • Visiting family members or friends of expats
    • Tourists
    • Business travellers

These people might want a long-term SIM card and plan:

  • People moving to Korea for longer than a month
    • Teachers
    • Professionals
    • The military
  • Those who don’t want to wait for their Alien Registration Card (3-6 weeks)


A good website to check the specifications of your phone is Phone Arena. Locate your phone, then scroll down to Technology to check compatible frequencies.

Remember, your phone must also be unlocked.[/note] In order to use a SIM card in Korea, your phone will need to satisfy these requirements:

  • Be unlocked (not restricted to any one network)
  • Be compatible with WCDMA 2100MHz frequencies (read this page for more information on compatibility)
  • (Optional) Support LTE Band 3, 8, or 26 for LTE data (otherwise phone will be limited to 3G data)

In addition, before you order your SIM card you’ll need to work out whether you phone takes a micro SIM or a nano SIM. In general, the nano SIM is used by iPhone devices, and most Android phones utilize the micro SIM, but you should check your phone specifications to be sure.

For a more thorough discussion of phone requirements, as well as a list of those phone check out our article Will My Phone Work in Korea?

If you’re in Korea and need help in English with these options, feel free to call The Arrival Store at 031-793-2257. Those guys are super-friendly, they’ll have no problem helping you out.  For more information, check out these websites:

And these articles about Korean cell phones, and networks: