I'm thinking about buying a second-hand smartphone before I leave Korea since some major brands are based here and Koreans seem to always want the latest and greatest I'm assuming models one or two years old might be resold at low prices.

But I also know mobile phones can be on totally different systems in different countries, and perhaps this is complicated further in the case of smartphones - I'm quite ignorant about all that stuff.

Assuming I can find an unlocked phone, will I be able to take it home and use it?

1 Answer 1


Yes you will be able to use mobile phones from South Korea in Australia. Korean's GSM providers use GSM 900 MHz or 1800 MHz which is the same in Australia. At the same time most phones now do support both GSM 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. Regarding UMTS (3G) both use 2100 MHz.

Just make sure that your phone supports 900/1800 MHz. If you are lucky enough you might get a phone with tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz) which can also be used in North America.

Source: Wikipedia and GSM world coverage map.

  • Just a note on terminology: South Korea never supported GSM proper, only CDMA/IS-95 (800/1800 MHz). For 3G, KT and SK adopted WCDMA for UMTS (as opposed to LG, which like Verizon chose EVDO). In that sense, phones for the SK or KT networks are "GSM" phones, but in areas where there is no 3G service, there is no 2G GSM network to fall back on. South Korea being South Korea, of course, that is probably not a problem.
    – choster
    Oct 15, 2012 at 7:18

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