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How do I obtain a cell phone (mobile phone)
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Infoseeker



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Lurking somewhere near Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:48 pm    Post subject: How do I obtain a cell phone (mobile phone) Reply with quote

Hi there,

Can anyone give me advice on the different options of getting a cell phone (otherwise known as a mobile phone to Aussies and Brits)?

I've heard you need to get a Korean to guarantee you, or to get it in a Korean's name. Is it possible to get a phone independently?

For example, could I buy a phone and then pay up front before making the calls and not get billed.
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sickboy



Joined: 26 Jan 2003
Location: Miari Texas

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, you can buy heaps in Itaewon at the foot of Hooker Hill where it starts by Geckos. Thats where I bought mine.

I've been using a Motorola flip for the past year or so, but due to constant dropping and other loutish behaviour, its falling apart. Is there anywhere I can get a good phone (ie. new colour Samsung) under the pay as you go scam, or would I have to get a Korean national to sign me up for it. I'd prefer to NOT have my phone under someone else's name.

Cheers.

-sick
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Rand Al Thor



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: Locked in an epic struggle

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when I got my first phone, 5 years back, I got it in my name - I had to put down 200,000 won. When I got married, I transferred the phone to my wifes name and got my money back.
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Derrek



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 5:20 pm    Post subject: Phones Reply with quote

Lately the Itaewon used phones are really crap... just bought a new phone, so I did a lot of looking down there. Lots of ancient old crappy ones. My biggest laugh is the arab-owned shop at the bottom of "hooker hill" that sells almost entirely GSM phones that don't work in Korea! They sell lots of calling cards there, but other than that, I sometimes wonder if that store is a front for something else??? Why would nearly every phone you sell be phones that work everywhere but Korea? Strange.

You can buy a "card phone" (otherwise known as a foreigner phone) or get a Korean to sign up with you for a regular account. These are "pre-pay" phones with no monthly rate.

The regular non-cardphone accounts have a base of around 15,000 won/month with no minutes. Often with regular accounts they require that you put down a 200,000 won deposit if you don't buy the phone outright, or make monthly payments to prove you won't just up and leave the country or something. There was a 60,000 won activation fee that I had split into 6 months with my regular bill.

The card phones have no base cost, and can still receive calls even with no money "charged" to them. Not sure how much for activation.. maybe less. Charging really means pre-buying your minutes from a store or using a pre-bought card sold at a store which has scratch-off numbers.

I had a card phone for months, then found a Korean friend who just signed me up, although the bill comes to me. In any event, you will find that sending text messages is very cheap, and is often what you will do. Calling is soooo expensive. Incoming calls are free on the card phones... not sure about the korean co-signed ones, but I think they are.

You will find that if you have a card phone, it is so expensive you will conserve. Then if you get a real phone later, you will be spending more money because it's easier and cheaper to rack up costs. Depends how much you like to call others though.

You can find phones in Techno-Mart (Gangbyeon on Green Line #2) on one of the top floors.... a huge selection and many stores. Click on "WWW" under my post and go to my website. I have a little streaming video I made which tells all about Techno-Mart.

As you walk by at TM, the Koreans say, "Card-uh Phone?" If you are going to buy a used phone, it's a good place to look. Otherwise for new phones, I recommend Lotte Mart. I went to the one at Jamsil... just 2 stops away from TM on the Green Line. I bought mine there because they seem to be cheaper on new phones than even the little stores that bargain (because Lotte is a cellphone importer for Korea). Also, as you exit the subway into the shopping area between Lotte Mart's entrance and the subway, there are some small shops with lots of cheap used old phones. They are like 29,000 won and up. I wouldn't buy one that cheap, personally.

If you get a card phone, get either 011 (SK Telecom) or 016 (KTF) for a number. Those are some of the newer numbers with more future phone capability, and better reception due to technology.

Card phone rates are expensive. About 60 won every 10 seconds! That adds up! A phone where a Korean friend signs for you is about 18-20 won every 10 seconds. The KTF rates are a tad cheaper than SK. Maybe 2 won/10 secs.

Most all Motorola phones have English menus. The more expensive newer korean phones have English too.
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pocariboy73



Joined: 23 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: Card Phone question Reply with quote

At one time I lived in Korea and bought a mobile phone. I still have it and am returning to Korea this month. Can I use this phone as a "card Phone" or must I buy a specific kind of phone for that purpose? By the way, its an LG 019 phone, if that at all matters....

Thanks in advance.
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Derrek



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:02 pm    Post subject: It can Reply with quote

It can be converted, but I don't know which shop to suggest you go to... they might only want to convert their own phones and not one from somewhere else.

Bring it and see. I'm sure it can be done somewhere.
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IconsFanatic



Joined: 19 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are local calls from a land-line free, ala US/Canada? Or do they cost you, ala the EU?
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Derrek



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:20 pm    Post subject: Yes Reply with quote

Yes, all calls cost in Korea. Even land lines charge per minute... no joke. It sux. If you buy the right phone card and call a toll-free number from a pay phone, it will give you your 100 won back after the call. The only thing you lose is minutes on the card. Not sure what home phones charge if you use such a phone card???

I use www.iconnecthere.com to place computer calls to the USA for about 3 cents/minute. It's 4 cents to Canada. The calls go to their home phone. Otherwise I use MSN Voice Chat to talk between computers, which is free.
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are also Korean websites online that have cheap new phones, but I don't have any other info on that because I'm getting assistance with it.

Don't get a card phone. You might feel like a normal phone is burning a hole in your pocket, but the convenience is very worth the price. I swear, if I have to sit around for hours waiting on another damn phone call in my room...
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Infoseeker



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Lurking somewhere near Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Derrek!

Thank you so much for taking the time to give so much detailed information. It's really appreciated.

Cheers
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JackSarang



Joined: 28 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I couldn't find a Korean to sign for me when I wanted a real phone, even my school wouldn't do it, even though my damn home phone is in their name and I could run up a similar bill.

Anyway, I opted for a Card-Phone and it sucks majorly. I'm with SK and you buy these little cards and you punch in the number to load up on minutes. The problem with the SK card-phone is this: If you run out of money you can no longer receive calls. The card you "activate" has a time limit.. its only good for about 5 weeks.. then you can no longer dial out again until you load up on a new card. Though if you still have money left you can still recieve calls till about 7 weeks after you activate. Next, I bought my phone (used) at the SK in Itaewon, he told me you just go into any SK outlet to buy new cards. Well, I live in Bundang and not a single SK outlet has the friggin cards. Most of the outlets in Seoul don't even carry the cards. The only place I've found them is at the TTL at Gangnam station and that same SK in Itaewon. MAJOR pain in the ass that I have to go into the city during business hours to buy new cards... my phone is currently offline because of that crap.

So.. uh.. don't buy an SK phone card.

On another note, I was told that you CAN get a regular phone on a regular plan with KTF or SK etc but as a foreigner you have to pay for the phone in full, upfront and the bill has to come automatically off a credit card each month. So I said screw that, not letting them automatically deduct from my credit card.

Now, as far as Card Phones go, I've heard good things about the LG Phones... you can still get calls if you run out of minutes and the cards are much widely more available.
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Middle Land

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:22 am    Post subject: phones Reply with quote

I only payed 60,000 won for the one I have now (and 50,000 for the first one).

They are not expensive. I just add time as I go.
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IconsFanatic



Joined: 19 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So if I don't want to buy some dodgy used phone from some sketchy South Asian salesman....

Where do you go to buy a new phone from one of the national networks?
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Derrek



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 3:56 pm    Post subject: Not all true Reply with quote

Buy your new phone from Lotte Mart... more on that later, but first this:

Quote:
On another note, I was told that you CAN get a regular phone on a regular plan with KTF or SK etc but as a foreigner you have to pay for the phone in full, upfront and the bill has to come automatically off a credit card each month. So I said screw that, not letting them automatically deduct from my credit card.


Not all true...

My KTF cardphone (competitor to SK) worked to receive calls -- even with no money on it. Got with KTF then.... 018 is what i had, but I thought the quality sucked. Might have been due to my phone though. 016 is also KTF, and is supposed to be a better quality. KTF Phone Cards are not difficult to find. You just have to find a KTF store that has 018 on the sign (or whatever number you got). They either sell you a card, or you pay them and they automatically update your account by computer. Please note that the small subway stores don't usually do this.

I did have to buy my new phone in advance, and have a friend provide his korean information for me to get the new non-card account. I DIDN'T have to put it on a credit card monthly... they are sending the bill to my apartment. That much is misinformation, although you could have been dealing with a picky salesman at the time. I did have to pay an activation fee of about 60,000, which I split into 6 months of bills.

I was happy with the prices of phones at Lotte Mart (they're all over, but the one I used is at Jamsil on Green Line). I was surprised by this, and we asked the sales guy why. He said that Lotte is one of the major importers of cell phones technology from other countries (Samsung, Lotte, LG are major companies that import electronics in partnership and legally add the Korean tax for gov't) so when you buy from them, you are effectively removing another middleman (other stores) from the process. Anyway, whether or not that's true, I got my Motorola V730 for about 295,000 won plus the activation. There are better phones out there for sure, but I wanted one with English, a color screen, an LCD front, and some fun music. 300,000 was my max, since I had to pay the activation fee.
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Captain Obvious 2.0



Joined: 09 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JackSarang wrote:
I couldn't find a Korean to sign for me when I wanted a real phone, even my school wouldn't do it, even though my damn home phone is in their name and I could run up a similar bill.

...

On another note, I was told that you CAN get a regular phone on a regular plan with KTF or SK etc but as a foreigner you have to pay for the phone in full, upfront and the bill has to come automatically off a credit card each month. So I said screw that, not letting them automatically deduct from my credit card.


So it's ok for others to trust you that you won't run off with a huge bill, but you'll be damned if you'll trust anyone to make sure your bills are paid?

That said, my KTF phone bill comes automatically out of my bank account each month because it's much simplier that way.
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