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Thursday, 17 August 2006

Buying a cellphone in Korea...plan info

Get ready for Yongsan, part deux. We were looking at getting a used cellphone in Korea since we arrived a month ago. My unlocked triband Nokia 6230i I brought over from Canada is useless here. There are no GSM networks in Korea. They have their own blazing fast CDMA networks that only work with Korean phones. That means there are hundreds of models, new and used.

Let's get to the point. We went to Yongsan the same day we visited Seoul Tower and bought a phone!

Look at this beauty. It's brand new from Samsung...the SCH-B490:

It's a clamshell design where the top part can swivel around 360 degrees:

Did I mention there's a built in 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and optical zoom?

...along with a gorgeous LCD screen to boot:

Oh yeah, let me mention that it always plays LIVE TV! I will post a video next. This phone only cost us a mere 760,000w...just over $800US!!! One more thing...

I DID NOT BUY THIS PHONE (I know, that was mean)! hee hee. It belongs to one of my 15 year old STUDENTS!

Now here's a picture of our REAL phone. It's an old, used Samsung that cost us 50,000w:

Side note: I already broke part of the phone. The battery pack now requires masking tape to stay attached to the phone. Yes, I know...I rule. This piece of tape will increase my signal reception of course! ;)

We're on a pay as you go plan. Incoming calls are free and text messages only cost 3 cents Canadian! We bought refill cards that do not expire. $12cdn for 1 hour of talk time. This is the most economical way to buy a cellphone when you are teaching English in Korea in my opinion.

Unless you are a talkaholic, paying a monthly plan is expensive and requires a one year contract + hook up fee. Pay as you go does not have any hook up fees.

Now here's the best part of the story. I was asked to choose the last four digits of our number. I requested the same last four digits of my home phone number back in Canada. When the lady came back the number was the EXACT SAME number as my number back home, but with an added "8" after the first three numbers (Korean numbers look like this: area code-xxxx-xxxx)! So it turned out like this: xxx8-xxxx. Freakalicious!

That's my story for tonight. I hope you've enjoyed this post and this wonderful new blue colored font I decided to test out. Goodnight!

Here's a picture of the used phone selection at Yongsan:

Need a rice cooker?

...or a notebook computer?


Jon Allen said...

Hey, looks like we got the same phone.
Does yours have a camera?
It's really annoying that you don't seem to be able to turn off the bingly bongly noised it makes whenever you press anything. Cheap price too.

Gary said...

Nope, there is no camera on my phone!
I was able to turn off the sound by pressing the buttons on the left side of the phone. Or, you can turn on vibrate mode.

Anonymous said...

The past tense of COST is not COSTED but COST.

Gary said...

Thanks for the grammar lesson, "anonymous"...do you teach English in Korea too?

Anonymous said...

do you know if the korean phones would be compatible in the u.s.? like, if i buy one in korea, will i be able to reprogram it to use in the u.s. once i'm back?

Gary said...

Korean phones will not work in the US or Canada. They use entirely different CDMA networks...as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

Hi - Can you add details about that Pay as you go plan ? What company and how you sign up for it ? website info ?
Traveling again to Seoul and this would be great.

Gary said...

Anonymous: I went with KT and I signed up for it at Yongsan. I had to fill out papers and provide my ARC# and address + details. Not sure about the website, Google KT Telecom. 20 cents a minute, texts are 3 cents a message, incoming calls are free, caller ID is included. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

un yeah...i wonder if you still check your old posts since i need info like a year after your done your teaching position. free incoming...means it's free from anywhere incoming? like canada?

Sandi Teruna said...

you can use any GSM phone from your country in Korea as long as it has W-CDMA capability, I'm using Nokia's E71 and it worked flawlessly with no hassle

Anonymous said...

I love Yongsan. You can get anything that deals with electronics there. I got my digital camera and my playstation there. I'm going there soon to get me a new cellphone. They have so much variety there that it's so hard to choose. I would say Yongsan is the best spot for electronics and they give you good deals.

The Traveling J said...

where exactly in yongsan did you go to get your phone?

Gary said...

Traveling J: inside the big electronics department there...there are tonnes of places. I recommend going with a Korean speaking friend to get a good deal.

magster4101 said...

If I were to buy the new phone from Pantech-the Sky Jamband from Korea. Would it work in the US? I'm going to Korea this summer and wanted to buy it, but I don't want to bring it back and not have it work. Please help.

Unknown said...

Hi there!

I was wondering - do laptops cost approximately the same in Korea as they do in Canada? Mine is a piece of garbage and I was wondering whether to replace it here or wait until I'm overseas if I can get some sweet weird Korean laptop there for cheap. Thanks for the info, your blog is great!

cellphone philippines said...

Cool cellphones! I am planning to buy a new one, but I'm still thinking what is a good one. Anyway, thanks for sharing this post. Looking forward for your next post.


AJW said...

Hey, I got a pre-paid phone but seem to have trouble topping up the credit... Some shops just wave 'no' at you, some do it one day and not the next... Did you ever work out a better way to get more credit than just going into every cell phone shop on the street??


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