The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Help, My SIM phone doesn’t work in Korea! How do I make calls?

Written By: herbrunbridge - Sep• 30•12

RoamingStar’s entry-level Samsung rental mobile phone

Here at WoWasis, we carry a SIM phone with us to virtually all Asian countries, buy a new SIM card when we arrive, and start calling in-country and back home immediately. But that doesn’t work in Korea. Korean mobile phones work on the CDMA system, a different communications technology, so your SIM phone may be worthless in Korea. Instead, your best bet is to rent a phone. You can rent a phone at Incheon Airport from companies such as KT ( or SK Telecom (

But what if you’ve already left the airport? You do have rental options in large cities. In Seoul, it’s Roaming Star, located a couple of blocks from the Jonggak metro station. Roaming Star’s cheapest phone is 2,000 won ($2 USD) per day for phone rental. Charges to make calls are 6.5 won per second for calls to Korea, and 360 won per minute to foreign countries (1 minute minimum). You are charged the daily rental fee upfront, and pay for minutes used when you return the phone.

International call charges add up quickly, but having a phone is indispensable when you’re making hotel bookings to another city. The trick is to find Roaming Star’s office, but your hotel will be able to help you get there, with the following information:

Roaming Star ( )
Room 302, Kukmin Bank building
71 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Seoul
Tel: 02-775-9999
Metro Line 1, Jonggak Station, exit 10

Instructions: leave the Jonggak station at exit 10. Turn right at the next corner onto Jong-ro 12-gil (there’s a Missha store on that corner, and Jong-ro 12-gil is a pedestrian-only street). On the right side of the street, two blocks ahead, look for the Kukmin Bank highrise building. Turn right at the Kukmin building, now you’re on Cheonggyecheon-ro. Enter the lobby of the Kukmin building and take the elevator to the third floor. Roaming Star is at room 302.

Bring your phone with you, depending on its frequency, Roaming Star might be able to fit it with a SIM. Otherwise, they’ll give you various rental options, depending on the phone and requirements you choose.

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