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Should I Get a SIM Card in Korea? Understanding Your Options

sim cards in korea

If you're planning to visit Korea, you have a three main options for staying connected; SIM cards, eSIMs, and WiFi eggs. Each provides a way to access mobile data and stay online, so it's important to understand which option best fits your schedule and budget. Here’s a helpful guide to get started.

eSIM vs. SIM: Which Should I Choose?

When considering eSIMs versus traditional SIM cards, each has distinct advantages. Generally, SIM cards are better for older phones that don't support eSIMs. For travelers with newer model phones, eSIMs are generally recommended.


Traditional SIM

Convenience: eSIMs are convenient to install and don't require physical card swapping, making them more travel-friendly.

Security: eSims ensure that if your phone is ever lost or stolen, a stranger can't easily switch to their own data plan with your phone. eSIMs cannot be lost or damaged, adding to peace-of-mind. Multiple Profiles: Some eSIMs can hold multiple profiles, so you can easily switch between personal and business lines or different carriers.

Cost-Effective: SIM cards are usually cheaper than eSIMs, but not by much. No Configuration Needed: Most SIM cards are plug-and-play. Insert them into your phone, and they are ready to use with minimal setup--great for less tech-savvy travelers. Device Compatibility: SIM cards work in virtually all phones with SIM slots, including older models that don't support eSIMs.

Before Buying a SIM Card

Before purchasing a SIM card, ensure your phone is unlocked and can accommodate a new SIM card. Contact your carrier to unlock your device if needed. Check that your phone has the appropriate SIM slot size (nano, micro, etc.), or consider using an eSIM if no slot is available.

Understanding Data Plans and Speed Reductions

Many SIM cards offer generous data plans but often reduce speeds to 3G after the designated limit is reached. This change usually occurs after exhausting a specified daily or monthly data limit.

5G SIM Card Compatibility

5G SIM cards are backward compatible with 4G phones. This means you can still access 4G networks with a 5G SIM card even if your phone doesn't support 5G.

Where Can I Get an eSIM or SIM Card in Korea?

Online: Purchase an eSIM or SIM card online before arrival and pick it up at the airport counter. Reliable online vendors like LG U+ and KT offer these options at affordable rates. eSIMs are especially convenient because you can avoid the counter altogether.

Airport Telecom Kiosk: For a reliable, but often pricier SIM card, visit roaming desks at Incheon Airport for major carriers like SKT, KT, and LG U+. All carriers provide equally excellent coverage all over Korea.

Airport Convenience Stores: Pick up a SIM card from the convenience stores at Incheon International Airport (1F Arrival Floor CU 1, 2, 3) or Gimpo International Airport (7-Eleven, 3F).

Compare prices here: KTRoaming | LGU+ | SKRoaming | KoreaSIM | Trazy | GetYourGuide 

Should I Get a SIM/eSIM Before Arrival in Korea?

If you're continuing to other countries in Asia, consider purchasing a SIM or eSIM before arrival through companies like Amazon and Alibaba. These global SIM cards offer coverage across the region but require careful planning--always check for positive reviews and be sure to read the activation requirements.

Who Needs a WiFi Egg?

A WiFi egg, or portable router, is ideal if you don't need voice or text services but require significant data access. It allows up to five devices to connect simultaneously and provides 1GB daily, making it perfect for groups traveling together. However, keep an extra battery handy, as the devices typically only last about 5-7 hours on a full charge.

Compare prices here: PocketWifiKorea | KKDayKTRoaming | LGU+ | SKRoaming  Whether you choose a SIM, eSIM, or WiFi egg, each option has unique benefits for staying connected in Korea. Select the one that best fits your data needs, and enjoy seamless internet access as you explore Korea.

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