WiFi and Data: How to Stay Connected in Korea!

WiFi and Data: How to Stay Connected in Korea!

WIFI & DATA: STAY CONNECTED IN KOREA 

When you’re traveling, what’s one of the most important things you need? That’s right: data and Wi-Fi! Especially if you’re travelling to another country, like Korea.

Getting Wi-Fi in a different place might seem tricky and a bit scary. We’ve given you some pointers on how to do it in Korea. So, sit down, pull out your phone, and take some notes. Your new data is on the way!

The Internet in Korea

South Korea has one of the fastest Internet speeds in the world. It’s also one of the countries with the most smartphones and the most time spent on screens. According to a 2021 survey, teenagers and adults in their twenties spend over four hours on their phone every day.

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Korea has three main Internet service providers: KT Corporation, SK Telecom, and LG U+. Together, these companies provide fast broadband Internet to both residents and tourists, with support from the Korean government.

 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Social media is a big part of daily life in Korea. Texting friends, working outside the office, streaming shows – it’s hard to find someone without a cell phone in public. And for good reason: a lot of public spaces have free Wi-Fi!

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Parks, libraries, bus stops and subway stations, and many stores have Wi-Fi hotspots that you can easily connect to. There are also Internet cafes (PC방) where people can play games without using their home’s Internet.

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Social media is an important tool to stay connected, especially if you’re visiting. So how do you get data and Wi-Fi if you’re new to Korea? Well, there are a few options.

How to Get a Korean Phone Plan

If you’re going to be in Korea for a while, then you’ll need to get a phone plan. For a stay of under three months, you’ll need a prepaid plan, which you can get with just your passport. For a stay over three months, you’ll need a longer plan, which requires your passport, an Alien Registration Card (ARC), and a Korean bank account.

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Here’s how to get a phone plan:

Do some research. It will be more convenient doing this before you go shopping. There are a few plans to choose from. If you’re spending a year or more in Korea, choose the 24-month plan. With this plan, you’ll get discounts on payments and rewards points.

Find a cell phone store. If you didn’t research plans before, you can ask the salespeople at the store. You can also ask them about current sales and bundling. (If you need a new smartphone, now’s a good time!)

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Choose a phone number. With a new phone plan comes a new phone number. Be warned: some of the phone numbers might already be taken!

Pay and Set Up. The easiest part. Now you’re all set for your stay.

 

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Eggs or Cards?

Again, you’ll only need a phone plan if you’re in Korea for more than a few weeks. What about for a short vacation? If you’re away for a few days or up to a month, then a Wi-Fi egg or prepaid SIM card is the way to go.

Hold on. What is a Wi-Fi egg?

 

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A Wi-Fi egg is another way of saying pocket Wi-Fi. It’s a small, egg-shaped portable device that lets you connect to Wi-Fi anywhere. Pocket Wi-Fi is best for big groups; both the Wi-Fi and the cost can be shared with many people. The downside is that you’ll need to charge it regularly, and there’s a limit on data.

 

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A prepaid SIM card is better if you’re travelling solo and want faster Wi-Fi. You can still share Wi-Fi if you turn your hotspot on. However, you will need to watch your data usage, otherwise you’ll run out. You will also need to doublecheck that the SIM card will fit inside your phone.

There are some pros and cons, but they are both good options for your trip. So, how do you get a Wi-Fi egg or SIM card?

How to Get a Wi-Fi Egg/SIM Card

It’s better to get your pocket Wi-Fi or SIM card before entering Korea. You’ll save time figuring out what plan works best for you. Plus, it’s cheaper to book online in advance. Here’s how to do it:

Google “how to book pocket Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi egg” or “how to book prepaid SIM card.” Look up different websites to see which one will give you the best deal. (KoreaTravelEasy and Klook are good sites to check out.)

Book the Wi-Fi egg or SIM card. Once you’ve selected the item, enter the dates of your stay and which airport you’ll be landing at.

 

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Unlock your phone’s country lock BEFORE leaving. You can do this with your home wireless carrier, at a phone store, or by yourself (with some models). This step is very important. If you don’t unlock your phone, you’ll be in a pickle!

Pick up the pocket Wi-Fi/SIM card. There are booths at the airport where you can get your Wi-Fi egg/SIM card the moment you arrive. Wait until your number is called with your email voucher, passport, and method of payment. Setup is quick and simple – you’ll finish within minutes!

 

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Return the Wi-Fi egg and charger when you’re leaving. You can do this at the booth where you picked it up or at a different one. (Make sure to change the drop-off location when booking.)

While having access to Wi-Fi is convenient, spending too much time on your screen takes you away from your experience. It also drains battery life and data. Offload any apps that use a lot of bytes and avoid scrolling through the Internet. Save the data for calls, messages, and the apps you really need.

Staying connected is crucial in Korea, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. We hope these tips are helpful, whether you already have a ticket or plan on travelling there in the future. And don’t forget spending as much time exploring as you can without your phone!

 

 

Author: SUJI SOHN

About the author: Suji was studying in London in the year 2019 and, although being separated from her family, her passion for Korea was growing. She noticed that a lot of her close friends loved Korean culture, food, music, and dramas and gradually started to fall in love with Korea, but there weren't many opportunities to actually "experience" this wonderful nation!

Suji was aware of what she needed to do to introduce Korea to her friends' lives and, conceivably, to those of everyone else who was curious about a piece of Daehan Min-guk.

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