I have a Samsung Galaxy S5, model SM-G900F. This is a 4G/LTE phone which I purchased from a carrier in Singapore. It is unlocked. I would like to confirm that this phone can be used in South Korea by purchasing a SIM card there.

For those who don't know, Korea uses CDMA. Last time I went there with a GSM phone, it would not work, but that was some years ago and I am hopeful that some combination of 4G/LTE and the passing of time has changed things.

If it can work, I would also like to know if there is a particular telecom I should get the SIM from, and whether it's better to shop in the airport, in Incheon town, or somewhere else like at 7-Elevens or whatever. Please don't suggest Seoul, as I'm not going there.

I mostly need internet access on the phone, preferably 4G. I don't care much about voice and SMS, but would like to know if it will work or not.

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    This ought to work on LTE, but 3G UMTS/HSDPA will be iffy, just because it is not common in South Korea. SK Telecom and KTF are you best bets. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 5:35
  • This might be of interest travel.stackexchange.com/questions/54222/… Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 18:52
  • @AndréPeseur: thanks but that doesn't help me--I'm chiefly interested in getting a SIM card in my phone, which I suspect will work but want to confirm. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 2:54
  • As you are mainly interrsted in internet access, a Wibro egg is a good option. Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 5:39
  • @AndréPeseur: actually I don't think the Wibro Egg is a good option, because I will be travelling light for several weeks. I don't want to pay US $5 a day and be saddled with another device. Further, it seems like the Egg is not a cellular modem--is that true? It looks like it has coverage only in limited areas, more limited than what a cellular modem would normally have. Still, I will keep it in mind as a last resort. :) Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


The answer is yes, you can use a Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, or iPhone 6, or other unlocked LTE phones, in South Korea. This is better than the old days when Korea's adherence to the CDMA standard made it unlikely for outsiders to show up with a usable phone.

I bought a SIM card from one of the several shops at Incheon International Airport (ICN) near Seoul. It cost about US $25 for 1 GB of data, and was active as soon as I plugged it in. So you do not need a service that lets you reserve a SIM card in advance, despite those services claiming you do need them or you'll have to wait days to get activated. Maybe that was true in the past, but it isn't now. The SIM card sold in the airport was billed as valid for 15 days only, but in reality it worked until the 1 GB of data ran out (I used it for about 19 days). Unfortunately they said it is not rechargeable.

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