iPhone’d Up: Getting an iPhone was really easy

I’ve finally joined the ranks of smart phone users. It’s been a long time coming.

The chosen device was the iPhone 4. Spare me the, “Dude, did you know the iPhone 5 comes out in October?” I don’t really care. I have my reasons for needing the phone now.

In the past, the process for a foreigner to get an iPhone in Korea was a giant pain in the ass. There was a time when you needed a Korean person to basically put the phone in their name. Shortly after, only some of the carriers would allow foreigners with certain visas, but you ended up with a contract that wasn’t worth the effort. I’m very happy to say that now, the process is really easy.

I’m pretty sure many carriers will kick down smart phones to foreigners, however I chose to work with Olleh KT.

Back in February, the SeoulPodcast #112 featured Chris Kim, the guy in charge of KT’s Expat Blog. The blog is an excellent English resource for all of KT’s services. From the podcast I learned that the easiest way to get an iPhone was to visit one of their Global Stores, because you’re basically guaranteed that someone on staff will be able to speak English. A list of KT’s Global Stores can be found here, including five in Seoul.

The only bummer about the whole situation was that my girl and I first visited them on a Saturday. KT’s system won’t allow a new phone to be activated (or maybe it’s a new customer to be initiated) into their system on the weekend, so we had to return during the work week. I returned the following Tuesday, but my girl just ended up getting a Korean friend to accompany her to a local branch of her current carrier and KT missed out on a new customer.

That said, it was easy for me to get back to the Itaewon Global Store. The person helping me was great. I was very inquisitive, asking her to break down everything, all of the charges, which she was glad to do.

Here’s the breakdown:

You choose the kind of service plan you want. Most people go with the 300 talking and 300 text message plan that includes unlimited data use. On top of the monthly service charges, you must pay for the cost of the phone, which is broken down over the duration of your two year contract. I’m pretty sure everyone gets a discount on the phone, but that discount depends on the length of your first month’s service. I got my phone on the 23rd of the month, so I didn’t see as much savings… I think. This was the only confusing part of the process. Maybe it’s only a discount on the first month.

You end up paying the interest on the cost of paying your phone off in two years up front. That interest amount was 30,000. She broke down the total monthly amount for me, which was slightly smaller the second year than it is the first year. Then, because I was a new KT customer, there was a 24,000 activation fee that will be paid over 3 months, so 8,000 per month. The new SIM chip is 5,500. You are given the opportunity for insurance at 4,000 a month. It has 700,000 coverage, but you pay 200,000 for the new phone.

I think that’s it. The best part was I got to keep my number from my previous service at LG Telecom because nothing had changed with regards to my ARC card.

Once you get over the first few months where the charges are a bit inflated, the regular monthly charges are not that much more than what I was paying for my little slide phone, the same phone I’ve had since landing in Korea. Bye bye little phone. I finally feel with it technologically and can blend in with the masses while commuting on public transportation.


~ by ripcitytoseoul on August 28, 2011.

2 Responses to “iPhone’d Up: Getting an iPhone was really easy”

  1. Just out of curiosity, but how much was the Iphone by itself? And how much do you pay monthly?

    This was a great post and looks like I found it by just typing in “getting an iphone in korea.”

    Btw, I’m a Seattleite. Pretty cool you’re from the city just a couple hours south.

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