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  • Rilakuma
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • June 07, 2011, 03:18:47 pm
    • Bundang, Gyeonggi
CELL PHONE FAQ UPDATED AUGUST 15 2013
« on: July 18, 2011, 11:44:10 am »
Can I use a phone brought from home in Korea?


As long as it supports WCDMA on the 2100mHz frequency, and it is unlocked, it should work on the KT network.

No registration required.

Can I buy a prepaid SIM card for my phone?

Yes. In Korea, SIM cards are issued with activation of a line of service, meaning that SIM cards are issued at kt retailers nationwide. If you aren’t able to speak Korean, you can visit one of our many “kt Global Stores”, to have your service activated. Depending on the location, you can find a store that can assist you in activating your service in English, Chinese, Japanese, and even German.

In order to activate your service, you will need to have the following:

An unlocked, WCDMA 2100mHz compatible phone
An Alien Registration Card or passport
Important Note: Because of a restriction by the Korean Immigration Service, customers are able to activate prepaid service only after 3 days have passed since their entry into Korea. This means that if you were to arrive in Korea on the 10th, you will be able to activate your prepaid service on the 14th.  For this reason, SIM cards are not available at the airport, but at our Global Stores and KT retailers nationwide.

Will my iPhone work in Korea?

The following models of Apple’s iPhone will work in Korea:

iPhone 3G
iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4
iPhone 4S
iPhone 5
The following models will NOT work in Korea:

iPhone (Originally released in 2007)
iPhone 4 – Verizon
Regarding the iPhone 5′s LTE capabilities

Apple has released the iPhone 5 in 3 different models worldwide, each supporting different LTE frequencies.  Although ALL models of iPhone 5 will work on KT’s network for voice calls, text messaging, and 3G data, only the A1429 (GSM and CDMA) models will allow for use of 4G LTE data speeds.
 

Please note:  All iPhones must be “unlocked” before they will be usable on KT, or any other network.  If you are unsure if your phone is unlocked, please inquire with your carrier’s customer support.  KT cannot unlock phones locked to other carriers.

What does it mean for my phone to be “unlocked”? How do I know if my phone is unlocked? Can KT unlock my phone for me?

The term “locked” or “unlocked” refer to whether or not a phone is “locked” for use only with the carrier it was bought on. This means if your phone is “locked” to the carrier you bought it on, you cannot use it on KT, or any other carrier’s network. (The phone will not accept our SIM cards.) The easiest way to know if your phone is locked is to try another carrier’s SIM card in your phone, or to call your carrier and ask.

To “unlock” a phone means that a carrier has removed this restriction, and the phone can be used with other carriers, including KT. By nature of the process, only the carrier who sold the phone can unlock it, meaning that unfortunately, KT cannot unlock phones that are locked to another carrier.

Will my smartphone work in XYZ Country when I take it with me?


All smartphones and tablets sold in Korea are already unlocked. The SK Telecom network uses W-CDMA technology, and it will be up to you to find a compatible carrier which in most cases is not a problem. However, some countries have carriers that use an older or proprietary wireless technology based on GSM. You would not be able to add your device on that kind of network.

How does pricing work for phones in Korea?


Non-smartphones have a base plan of 12,000 KRW.  Here is KT Olleh's standard rate plan:

Smartphone plans are obviously pricier, and if you don't buy the phone outright, the price of phone is paid over two or three years (no interest). In addition, certain monthly discounts are given if you purchase the phone this way.


Only two-year contracts are offered on smartphones. If you terminate early, you'll pay the remaining balance of the phone (and any discounts you received will be withdrawn) plus a termination fee, up to 50,000 KRW. Here's an example:

http://www.mobileboo.com/?page_id=40 (Scroll down to "Can I terminate a contract...")

Mobileboo has received positive reviews:

http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,14322.0.html



Which provider is the best? KT Olleh, SK, LG?


As an oligopolistic industry, there is likely very little difference in pricing, and expats appear to be satisfied regardless of the provider:

http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,19712.0.html

Also check out http://www.mobileboo.com. It's an all-English service that apparently offers cheaper rates (through SK) on iPhones and Galaxies. They also allow you to break a two year contract easily.

Is there a way of getting just a prepay sim card?

Yes, simply go to any LG, KT, etc. store. However, if you were given a second-hand, NON-prepaid phone, inserting a pre-paid SIM card won't work.

Is it possible to get a cell phone without an ARC card?


Some dealers will give you a phone with just your passport, but not a smart phone. Otherwise, check out thearrivalstore.com .  According member hbtunes, the contract is for six months, after which you can extend the contract a month a time. The fees are $125 (deposit) and $60 for a new phone, basic phone. The deposit is given back to you after you return the phone.

Check the web site for more details (thearrivalstore.com).


More questions?

English service:

KT Telecom: 02-2190-1180, 1588-0010 (for this line, press # and 0, then request an English representative)

http://www.ktexpatblog.com/?page_id=96

SK Telecom: 080-252-5011

http://www.sktelecom.com/eng/

http://www.mobileboo.com  --> Galaxies and i-products for foreigners via SK

LG Telecom: 1544-0010 (press # for English Service)

http://www.lgtelecom.com/jsp/eng/home_service1.jsp?A=2&B=2&C=1
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 11:23:08 pm by Davey »


  • climber
  • Super Waygook

    • 270

    • January 02, 2011, 06:52:36 pm
    • Ilsan
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 11:47:52 am »
Do you think it would work for the iPhone 3? Does it need to be jailbroken?


  • Rilakuma
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • June 07, 2011, 03:18:47 pm
    • Bundang, Gyeonggi
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 12:03:25 pm »
I'm no expert on iPhones. Though, I did a lot of research for the iPhone 4 and specific baseband. As of yet, the iPhone 4 with 3.1 ~ 5.1 basebands do not have a software unlock, the hardware unlock with the Gevey sim is the only choice for these particular iPhone 4s.

iPhone 3G is a different story. The Dev Team developed unlocks for iPhone 3GS and back and also certain basebands of iPhone 4. So, many are unlockable, but it doesn't mean it will work in SK.

AT&Ts network is different from Korea's. So, I read that the only way a US iPhone will work in SK is if it has 3G. I could be wrong...

  • To do a software unlock you must first jailbreak it. There are so many videos that show to unlock your phone from the AT&T carrier lock on you tube.
  • To do a hardware unlock with Gevey you must jailbreak it (was what I read, don't know if it is reaaally necessary for the Ultra sim though...).

Remember, the Gevey sim does not permanently unlock your phone; once removed, the phone believes it is still bound to AT&T.


Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 11:28:31 am »
I don't know about this Gevey SIM, but I have an iPhone 3G (not 3GS), which has been jailbroken and unlocked. I was able to use this phone with local SIM cards in every country I've tried (China, Japan, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia) but nooooot in Korea.

The first time I came the guy pretty much refused to try to get it working, and insisted on selling me a little cheapass prepaid instead.

The second time I had my Korean friend talk to the people at olleh and they gave it a good effort. Things were looking optimistic until they called about 20 minutes later to say that it couldn't be done. They said that had it been a 3GS, it might've worked. I'm thinking about waiting for the new one to come out and upgrading.


  • Rilakuma
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • June 07, 2011, 03:18:47 pm
    • Bundang, Gyeonggi
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2011, 02:58:50 pm »
I know in Korea foreign phones are a new thing. Korea Telecom has gotten more lenient on their rules on cell phones and networks.

For example, they used to have a whitelist of approved IMEI numbers. That list only included IMEI numbers of phones sold in South Korea. I heard in recent past that they allowed for registration of foreign IMEI numbers, but it cost as much at 300,000 krw. Now, they allowed me to register my foreign IMEI number right at the Olleh store! I also heard that this only applies to phones that are sold in Korea. So, if you want to bring over a phone like the Blackberry you will have a tough time getting someone competent enough to help you. Only in the last couple years they have begun selling iPhones in Korea.

I just think you can't expect everybody in the SK, Olleh, and LG carrier companies to know what's going on all the time. I had to make about 4 trips to the store until I could get enough information to get it to work. The first person told me flat out that it was not possible. I would have sold this phone and bought another one if I failed. But, I kept researching until I was sure for myself.


  • doolin.nc
  • Adventurer

    • 58

    • March 30, 2011, 07:09:04 am
    • Charlotte, NC, U.S.A.
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 11:01:46 am »
I know in Korea foreign phones are a new thing. Korea Telecom has gotten more lenient on their rules on cell phones and networks.

For example, they used to have a whitelist of approved IMEI numbers. That list only included IMEI numbers of phones sold in South Korea. I heard in recent past that they allowed for registration of foreign IMEI numbers, but it cost as much at 300,000 krw. Now, they allowed me to register my foreign IMEI number right at the Olleh store! I also heard that this only applies to phones that are sold in Korea. So, if you want to bring over a phone like the Blackberry you will have a tough time getting someone competent enough to help you. Only in the last couple years they have begun selling iPhones in Korea.

I just think you can't expect everybody in the SK, Olleh, and LG carrier companies to know what's going on all the time. I had to make about 4 trips to the store until I could get enough information to get it to work. The first person told me flat out that it was not possible. I would have sold this phone and bought another one if I failed. But, I kept researching until I was sure for myself.

This. Korea has become increasingly lax on their phone policies with, while cliche, the ever-expanding globalization and on a more real scale, the introduction of smartphones and an increase in foreign traffic in and out of the country. Can't be a hermit forever, though their persistence to stay on WCDMA is aggravating to say the least.  Also what she said about the companies employees is true. Even in the States and elsewhere it's rare for an employee to be knowledgeable about such things simply because they're not common problems and every case can be different.

Anyway, after a few weeks of research pre-departure (literally, and departing in 6 hours), I think I've finally gotten this thing ready to be used on Olleh with Gevey. Since most of the procedure is outlined here I'm only gonna mention one thing.

If you are having issues accessing the "Cellular Data Network" menu:
Quote from: Me
1. Pop your SIM card out for 5 ~ 10 seconds, re-insert it, then go back to the Network menu and see if the menu has appear. If this doesn't work, try step 2.

2. Go to your carriers office and ask for a new SIM. Some charge, some are free. In Korea I think it's like 5,500KRW as mentioned.

Neither of these are guaranteed to work. If you read that it doesn't show because your phone is locked to some carrier, that is balls and a lie. Mine is locked to AT&T at the moment and I have this menu now. NOW, if step 1 &2 didn't work, try step 3! BUT, you need to be jailbroken and have some sense. I'm not great at spoon-feeding so here goes :p

3. Download iFile from Cydia. A trial should work (maybe, I don't know the trial limitation). Once downloaded, open iFile and navigate to /System/Library/Carrier Bundles/ and find your appropriate carrier bundle. This is NOT a numbered folder! Scroll allll the way down until you get to the named folders (such as ATT_US.bundle). If you're on an unofficial carrier (if your carrier does not sell iPhones at all) then it will be "Unknown.bundle". Once you've found your bundle, go into that folder and go to the carrier.plist file. Find the key that looks like this:

<key>AllowEDGEEditing</key>

Look at the value under it. It should say <true/> or <false/>. If it's false, change it to true. Simply change the word and save it and you're done. HOWEVER, if the key for AllowEDGEEditing doesn't exist at all (which it may or may not and I have no way to tell aside from searching the file), you can simply add it in yourself! It's easy as pie. Scroll to the top of carrier.plist file and locate the beginning with the tag <dict>. After this line, simply add these two lines directly underneath it on the next line:

<key>AllowEDGEEditing</key>
<true/>

Then you're done done. This advice may not be helpful to anyone immediately but this thread does turn up with the right Google search so I hope I helped someone with this.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 11:04:09 am by doolin.nc »


  • xavierh
  • Explorer

    • 7

    • August 29, 2011, 09:49:33 am
    • Daejeon
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 09:36:20 am »
Anyone know if baseband 04.10.01 has a software unlock? Last I heard, people were having mixed results with the process. I tried it and failed a few weeks ago. Maybe things have changed. I read that the Gevey SIM unlock will no longer be an option come ios5.


  • Rilakuma
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • June 07, 2011, 03:18:47 pm
    • Bundang, Gyeonggi
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 12:36:01 pm »
As far as I know software unlocking is not available fo the basebands 3.10.01, 2.10.04, 4.10.01 and 1.59.00. You can sit around and wait for the dev team to release a software unlock, but I imagine most have given up. This is one of the many articles that goes over different options to unlock these basebands:
http://iphoneism.com/2011/04/27/want-to-unlock-iphone-4-baseband-3-10-01-2-10-04-4-10-01-and-1-59-00-heres-the-whole-deal/

Most likely when the iOS5 comes out Apple will close the loophole, but I don't plan on updating.


  • cathyb
  • Waygookin

    • 13

    • September 01, 2011, 07:58:30 am
    • Seoul
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2011, 02:18:40 pm »
Does anyone know if this is true for the Verizon iPhone 4? From what I understand, Verizon doesn't use SIM cards, and it runs on the CDMA network. I don't know how this affects using a U.S.-based Verizon iPhone in Korea. Can I use it here if I unlock the phone? Are there programs/ways to unlock a Verizon iPhone. Most programs I've seen seem to apply to AT&T iPhones or don't specify that it is Verizon compatible.


  • anthony21
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • September 02, 2011, 08:57:40 am
    • United States
Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2011, 10:37:21 am »
So your not allowed to have a smart phone unless you have your ARC and most companies won't sell you a phone unless you sign a 1 year contract?
Just a little confused on if your visa is only valid for 365 days can you still technically get a smart phone and just leave the country in 365 days and shut down the service afterwards or make a payment at the end of your contract. Not sure if I understood why so many people just say get a pre paid phone is easier than getting a smart phone...... Sorta wish EPIK would have went over that during orientation rather than some of the other topics.
Thanks,
Anthony

P.S. What is the best options and costs if I want a phone to text home and call in Korea... No need to call home just would like to text people back home during the day and recieve pics thanks


  • Davey
  • Moderator - LVL 3

    • 1824

    • February 01, 2010, 01:36:20 pm
Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2011, 11:59:55 am »
So your not allowed to have a smart phone unless you have your ARC and most companies won't sell you a phone unless you sign a 1 year contract?
Just a little confused on if your visa is only valid for 365 days can you still technically get a smart phone and just leave the country in 365 days and shut down the service afterwards or make a payment at the end of your contract. Not sure if I understood why so many people just say get a pre paid phone is easier than getting a smart phone...... Sorta wish EPIK would have went over that during orientation rather than some of the other topics.
Thanks,
Anthony

P.S. What is the best options and costs if I want a phone to text home and call in Korea... No need to call home just would like to text people back home during the day and recieve pics thanks

If you leave after 1 year, you must pay for the rest of the phone. Read the KT expat blog. 

The reason why getting a smartphone is harder is because some stores don't let foreigners get one (for whatever reason). By going to a global store or going to www.mobileboo.com, you'll likely get one.
------------------------------------------
Search this site using Google by typing, "site:waygook.org [search term]," especially during peak hours. Alternatively, use the site's search function.

EPIK: VISA, RENEWING, PENSION, ETC:

http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,2614.0.html


  • Rilakuma
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • June 07, 2011, 03:18:47 pm
    • Bundang, Gyeonggi
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 05:50:19 pm »
Does anyone know if this is true for the Verizon iPhone 4? From what I understand, Verizon doesn't use SIM cards, and it runs on the CDMA network. I don't know how this affects using a U.S.-based Verizon iPhone in Korea. Can I use it here if I unlock the phone? Are there programs/ways to unlock a Verizon iPhone. Most programs I've seen seem to apply to AT&T iPhones or don't specify that it is Verizon compatible.

As far as unlocking a Verizon iPhone 4, you will probably have to find some technician to do it for you. I read this article here about the difference between iPhone 4s on AT&T and Verizon:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/02/07/verizon_iphone_4_uses_world_mode_mdm6600_qualcomm_baseband.html

Also, I know it seems like kind of a waste, but purchasing a new iPhone 4 in Korea is also a good idea. Firstly, it's not a huge waste of money. Purchase it outright is 816,000, sell your old phone -400,000 which makes 416,000. Then get the Smart Sponsor plan with iLite which will deduct 15,000 krw each month for the whole life of the contract for buying the phone outright in the first place, another 360,000 saved over 2 years.

I am referencing the KT expat blog here:
http://expatblog.kt.com/72

You can buy a phone from Olleh and when you are leaving the country just call them and ask them to unlock it (so I'm told). There are benefits to having an unlockable phone. One being it will easily get service in other countries, it's only a matter of buying another service provider's sim card.

During our EPIK orientation there were representatives from Olleh who were unlocking foreigner iPhones for a fairly low fee ($30, I think).

Does anyone know whether an iPhone purchased in Korea would work upon return to the US or Canada, or what might need to be done in order to make it work?

I am quite surprised that there was someone from Olleh unlocking phones, at your orientation no less! I asked many Olleh staff if they knew about any kind of person or shop that would perform an unlock, to no avail. Just goes to show everyone isn't on the same page. Those people at the orientation got lucky!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 05:54:45 pm by Rilakuma »


  • rystheguy
  • Adventurer

    • 48

    • September 02, 2011, 08:18:43 am
    • Ulsan, South Korea
Re: US iPhone 4 works on olleh in SK!
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 07:33:56 pm »
I found out online that you can also get a phone unlocked through Apple but at a fairly substantive cost ($100 is what I've read). I've also that many independent technicians in the US and Canada will unlock it for a lower fee. I'm not sure though if unlocking does anything to the phone's warranty. For that matter, I'm not sure whether a phone's warranty would be honoured in a country other than where it was purchased. Anyone have any idea?


Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 08:15:51 pm »
Thanks for the info! 

So, I have an LG Optimus V smart phone from the U.S. It also runs on CDMA technology.  From what I hear those are 2 positive points to being able to use a foreign phone over here.  I would love to use this phone rather than buying another one.

You said it was possible as long as the phone is unlocked.  Is there any information about how to do this?  Also, after I unlock the phone, how do I start up service?

Thanks!


Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2011, 12:45:21 pm »
Hi All

I do not want a smart phone but I do want to activate my nokia. I know that most of you are talking about smart phones but do any of you know if we can activate a nokia.

My co teacher gave me her old phone and it is the most complicated faulty device that is supposed to be new. I already have a cell phone contract I just need to transfer my pin code from 1 phone to another. I am currently with SK telecom. Are they any good?


  • Jayne
  • Adventurer

    • 51

    • August 24, 2011, 12:29:29 pm
    • Gyeongbuk, South Korea
Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 03:09:22 pm »
DonnaTeacher, I am in the same situation. The confusing part is this: when we were at orientation at Jeonju many people walked away with an iPhone with a one year contract- they paid around 100,000 won per month. Unfortunately this deal has been hard to find at other Olleh stores not in Jeonju. I'm in Gumi. So, I'm convinced it's still possible, but it may be difficult to hunt the deal down. I am going to ask someone how to express that I want a one year contract and am willing to pay more...
I'll let ya know how that conversation goes over at the store tonight.

Good luck! Please let me know if you find some store that will give you a 1 year contract on an iPhone.


  • Davey
  • Moderator - LVL 3

    • 1824

    • February 01, 2010, 01:36:20 pm
Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2011, 11:23:36 pm »
DonnaTeacher, I am in the same situation. The confusing part is this: when we were at orientation at Jeonju many people walked away with an iPhone with a one year contract- they paid around 100,000 won per month. Unfortunately this deal has been hard to find at other Olleh stores not in Jeonju. I'm in Gumi. So, I'm convinced it's still possible, but it may be difficult to hunt the deal down. I am going to ask someone how to express that I want a one year contract and am willing to pay more...
I'll let ya know how that conversation goes over at the store tonight.

Good luck! Please let me know if you find some store that will give you a 1 year contract on an iPhone.

Go to a KT Global Store or check  www.mobileboo.com.

Note that it's almost certain that after the contract ends, you will have to pay for the rest of the phone.

Example:

iPhone 4 = 800,000 KRW

You're paying 100,000 KRW, and let's say 30% (30,000 KRW) of that is going towards paying off the phone. After one year, you've paid 360,000 KRW (30,000 * 12 months) towards the phone, meaning you 'll have to pay 440,000 KRW for the phone (800,000 - 360,000 ) if you leave Korea.

(This numbers are made up, but the iPhone 4 is roughy that price.)

------------------------------------------
Search this site using Google by typing, "site:waygook.org [search term]," especially during peak hours. Alternatively, use the site's search function.

EPIK: VISA, RENEWING, PENSION, ETC:

http://waygook.org/index.php/topic,2614.0.html


  • schmydia
  • Newgookin

    • 4

    • October 04, 2011, 03:24:41 pm
    • busan, south korea
Re: CELL PHONE FAQ
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2011, 09:09:01 pm »
If I don't get a smart phone will I be able to get a phone that has the romanized alphabet? I want to be able to text, but I don't have any idea what the phones will be like out here.


Re: Anyway to buy a temporary phone?
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2011, 08:45:11 am »
I've tried the rental phone from the Arrival store. I used it for 15 days, and it cost me around $50 US. It is quite expensive because the initial rental charge is $20, and each day they charge you an extra 2,000 won even if you don't use it. The only other option is to find a friend with an old prepaid phone and use that, otherwise, wait for your ARC or rent from arrival store.


  • Sara
  • Featured Contributor

    • 702

    • September 01, 2010, 08:58:35 am
    • Chungcheongbukdo
Re: Anyway to buy a temporary phone?
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2011, 09:29:13 am »
You can buy a used phone and just put prepaid minutes on it. You can't buy a phone from the store or else you'll be roped into a contract - but many expats (*cough* including me *cough*) have old phones they are trying to get rid of. You simply buy minutes (at a bad rate) and there are no strings attached. I should add - this is only a good option if you don't talk on your phone often or you're not going to be here very long. Personally, I have a pure prepaid (no monthly fee or contract) phone and I only spend about 10,000 won a month. That buys 30 minutes outgoing and unlimited incoming calls, which is enough for me!