sim card vs. portable wifi in Korea

Before traveling abroad, I know a lot of people look up Sim card information and sometimes even purchase them before going. There are lots of websites that sell prepaid sim cards for travel overseas. Depending on how many people you are traveling with and how long you are planning on staying might determine which plan you go with.

Personally, if I had to pick between a Sim card vs. Portable wifi device, I would always go with the Sim card. The convenience of not having to carry around another tech (and having to charge it as well) makes it easier. Plus, many of the Sim cards nowadays allow for tethering so if your family plans on staying together, you might only need to get one Sim card.

Many prepaid Sim cards that are available in the States have data limit as well as usage date limit. So you will see something like 10Gb 30 days Sim card. From the States, the prepaid Sim card only offer data. Nowadays, with internet messengers like Line and Kakao talk, you might not need a phone number. This will also be something to consider. Also, since these prepaid Sims are meant for travelers, they are all short term, from 1 day to maximum 30 days.

Usually, when I’m traveling abroad, I only purchase data plans myself. However, when I travel to Korea, I usually end up purchasing data and local phone number. This is only because I have family here. You may opt to just data.

I’m going to introduce you to my favorite Sim card in Korea, Korea Sim. It is considered (my) best because of easy access and how easy it is to use. They have the option for the portable wifi rental but I’m only going to introduce their Sim card. I’m also going to skip the eSim card since this is limited to certain phone types.

They two regular Sim card options: Blue and Orange. The major difference is that Blue includes both data and phone number while Orange only includes data. One of the big plus for Korea Sim’s Sim cards are that they have unlimited data.

There are some limitations as well. For Orange, they cap the speed limit to 10Mbps but this is still fast enough to watch netflix on the go. And since you can tether, the whole family can be sharing one Sim card without having internet issues.

For Blue, you get 10Gb of fast internet and once you hit the limit, your speed drops for unlimited data (400Kbps). The difference is very clear. Once you get dropped to the slower internet, watching youtube at higher resolution can be challenging but reading things on the web is not a problem.

After some deliberation, you probably have come to a decision on which Sim card works best for you. Now, you can purchase this Sim card at the airport or pre-purchase it from their website. You want to pre-purchase so you have the one you want in stock. Don’t worry about not having internet in the airport. Incheon Airport is one of the best airports in the world and it has fast and FREE internet throughout the airport. I purchased the Blue this time.

Once you exit the baggage claim, you should notice alphabet letters next to your baggage claim exits and also numbers on the airport exit doors. Follow the letter/number to D/4. There is a convenient store named CU between D and E / 4 and 5. You just need to head into CU and ask them for the Sim card and voila! You have your Sim card.

You want to set up the Sim card in the airport so you have internet when you leave the airport. It takes about 10 minutes to setup. If you are having trouble with it, usually there is an agent near the CU convenient store to help you.

The Sim card comes with everything you need to set up. It comes with the pin to push out the cartridge and the Sim card. It also has a step by step instruction on how to set up the Sim. You will need to submit your passport information so have it handy.

The registration is really easy and all you need is practically just your passport. Once you have registered, give it a few minutes and restart your phone a couple times for the Sim card to be recognized. Once recognized, you are ready to go adventure around Korea. Of course, once the number of days has expired, the Sim card is no longer valid and you can just throw it away. Easy as that! Hope this makes your travel to Korea a little bit easier 🙂