Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Phone Services in Korea, International calls

with 8 comments

Great, useful post from Seoul City Blog regarding phone services in Korea which are quite different (and better IMO) than North American services.

One of the greatest aspects of having a cell phone in Korea is that are incoming calls are free, even for pay-as-you-go phones.  This means that even if you run out of money, you can still receive calls.  I think the same goes for text messages (on prepaid) but not 100% sure.  I guess one other difference is that they don’t have plans here like weeknights and weekends free like they did back home (actually not sure if they still have those plans back home).  However, I still find my cell phone bill relatively cheap; around 55,000 to 60,000 KRW per month with moderate use (actually I have a smartphone which is more expensive due to data plans).

In terms of making long distance calls, I usually use 00700+country code+area code+phone number.  I’m not sure how cheap it is compared to other services such as 00365 as I’ve only been using this.  I also use it to send text messages back home too.

More great tips below:

News on Sep 28: Long distance calling charge were abolished. Long distance calling rates will be reduced by 85 percent from W250-W261 per three minutes to W39, the same as local calls. Most communication service providers currently apply the long distance rate for calls further than 30 km.

Telecom companies are now announcing measures to diversify price plans for mobile services to reduce the burden for users.

Useful numbers to know:

  • Country number: Korea (82)
  • Area Code: Seoul (02), Gyeonggi-do (031), Incheon (032), Gangwon-do (033), Chungcheong nam-do (041), Daejeon (042), Chungcheong buk-do (043), Busan (051), Ulsan (052), Daegu (053), Gyeongsang buk-do (054), Gyeongsang nam-do (055), Jeolla nam-do (061), Gwangju (062), Jeolla buk-do (063), Jeju-do (064)
  • Cell phone: 010, 011, 016, 017, 018
  • Korea Telecom Directory provides an English website for foreigners to find phone numbers in Korea.
  • Phone number finder: Call 114 from Land line, Area code+ 114 (from mobile phone), and Service fee is W120. You can request an English speaking operator.
  • Calling from abroad:

~International dialing code+ 82 (Country number) + 2 (area code: drop 0 in front) + Phone number

~International dialing code + 82 (Country number) + 10 (mobile number: drop 0 in front) + Phone number

1. International calls

There are multiple providers (001, 002, 00700, 00365 etc) who allow you to use their service to make a call to an overseas phone number.

  • 00700 (SK Service provider) + Country number (U.S/Canada: 1, U.K: 44, Australia: 61) + Phone number
  • 001 (KT Service provider) + Country number + Phone number

Be aware that when using different service provider, you will be billed separately. For example, if you use 00700 which is run by the SK telecom from your mobile phone serviced with KT, there will be separated bill that you need to deal with.

Using Skype: Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other users of the service and, in some countries, to free-of-charge numbers, are free, while calls to other landlines and mobile phones can be made for a fee. Additional features include instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing. As of June 2009, total user accounts are up to 483 million. Users may have more than one account, and it is not possible to identify users with multiple accounts. As of January 2009, Skype is adding about 30 million subscribers a quarter.

Using calling cards: You can also purchase international calling cards from most convenience stores and special phone card shops of which there are many in Itaewon. Different cards are better suited for calling different countries, so make sure you choose one that allows you to call to the country you will be calling.

Making an international collect call: Dial 00794. An English speaking operator will connect you to the number that you wish to speak with

2. Mobile phone

English-menu mobile phones are widely available these days. Korea uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) system as in many other countries use GSM (Global System for Mobile communications). Therefore, you cannot use a unit purchased in another country here (even if it is a Korean model) nor can you use SIM cards.

  • Contract phone service: Basic requirements are passport, alien registration card, and the least visa validate up to 6months. Each provider has different regulations. You can meet with LG telecom which is friendly designed for foreign residents at the Seoul Global Center. If you have any questions on signing up, please contact Min Jeong Kim at 02-2075-4134.
  • Prepaid phone service: Having alien registration card is not necessary (Passport is necessary). Prepaid mobile phones are easier to obtain. But you must still purchase the phone and the charge per minute is higher than the post paid. Used phone models are easily available, including pre-pay ones. Used phones can be found at the stores in Itaewon, also at the Techno mart (Subway line 2, Gangbyeon station near Kunkuk Univ.) on the 6th floor
  • Rental phone: It is good for short-term visitors. You can find rental phones at the airport or from local rental phone shop. SGC can assist you to find the nearest rental phone shop. Phone rates are expensive compared to the services presented before.
  • Roaming: If you want to use your mobile phone while you are travelling outside of Korea, some phones are automatically set up in an international mode, some phones are not. It is depending on what model your phone is. Please contact your service provider before hand. If your phone doesn’t allow using in other country, you can get a roaming phone at the airport. You will be charged as international phone calls including service fee.
  • Text message: Sending domestic text message charges W20 each (Photo message: W100). You can also send text messages from Korea to your home country or from out of country to Korea. The service fee for the international text message is between W150 and W200. It is the same way to make an international phone call.

~00700 or 001 (SK/KT) + Country number (U.S/Canada: 1, U.K: 44, Australia: 61) + Phone number

Tip #1. Receiving calls with your mobile phone does not affect your phone bill.Tip #2. When you make a call from your cell phone it’s like making a long distance call, you have to always put the area code. For example when calling a local Seoul number that you would dial directly from lane line 222-5555 you would dial 02-222-5555 from your mobile phone.

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Posted in Consumer counseling, International calls, Living in Seoul, Mobile phone service, Phone service

Heekyoung Han is
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Written by recruiterinkorea

April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. Cool post – Korea is light years ahead of the U.S. in cell phone service, handset types – everything. I envy all of you!


    April 17, 2010 at 6:10 am

  2. […] how restrictive it is to say an F-4 or F-2.  This is all too evident when it comes to getting a mobile phone.  I believe LG allows regular contract phones (sans huge deposit) whereas most other places make […]

  3. hello, i write to know how much is the cost to call usa, im a us resident and now i came to seoul to work here, i want to know if the calls are cheaper when i call usa or when they call me
    please answer me , i want to talk to my family , i really miss them
    thank you


    August 22, 2010 at 12:11 am

  4. Hi there, thanks for your great info! It really helps me a lot. I’m a student in Korea and I need to know these before I do something stupid that will blow my phone bills

    But anyway, actually I’m not clear on some things. So is it also free to receive international calls in Korea (I’m using SK by the way)

    Thanks! 🙂


    September 27, 2010 at 11:16 pm

  5. Thank you for your information! I am living in the united states an im moving to korea very soon! I would like to know what cellphone companies they have there.. and if sprint pcs or verizon, or at&t phones will work there…! please get back with me, it would be a big help! Thanks in advance,
    ELijah H.

    Elijah H.

    October 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  6. […] is a question based on this post and that I get asked a lot.  Basically, if you’re going to live in Korea for an extended […]

  7. Korea does have GSM and UTMS as well as LTE. Just letting you know your blogg is heavily outdated.

    Marie Calendar

    December 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm

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