South Korea is one of the most attractive destinations for tourists. With beautiful natural landscapes and a typical temperate climate, this is the destination of millions of tourists every year. South Korea also has the best internet infrastructure in the world. However, not everywhere can access wifi. Thus, mobile internet is essential for your trip. eSIM for South Korea will be a good option. Let’s check out all you need to know about eSIM for South Korea

What is eSIM for South Korea?

eSIM for Korea
eSIM for Korea

eSIM stands for embedded/electronic SIM. There is absolutely no need for a real SIM card with this type of digital SIM, and you don’t even have to swap it out. The network must enable and support an eSim before it can use it. Although not all networks currently accept an eSIM, a growing number of mobile network operators are offering services in response to the rise in eSIM-compatible handsets.

eSIM for South Korea was created to operate in South Korean territory. The bother of buying, switching, and managing real SIM cards or Pocket WiFi when traveling can be eliminated with the help of eSIM. You should be cautious when selecting an eSIM for your travel to South Korea because not all eSIMs come with a phone number.

South Korea eSIM vs SIM Card

Below are some similarities and differences between eSIM and physical SIM:


  • Connect your phone to the carriers of your mobile network.
  • Can be used in a dual-SIM phone simultaneously.
  • When both SIM cards are plugged into the same network, make no distinction (but the signal could be interrupted with a faulty connector, thus you can expect a more reliable signal from eSIM).


Here, we briefly contrast an eSIM with a physical SIM card: 

FeatureseSIMSIM card
Can be removed from the devicex
Supports more than 1 SIM profilex
Various SIM sizesx
Supplied by carriers independently of the phonex
Preinstalled in your devicex
Can be physically transferredx
Allow immediate activation without deliveryx
eSIM and SIM card comparison

Based on these comparisons above, it can obviously confirm that eSIM is the better option for travelers due to its features.

How Does eSIM Work?

With the help of the eSIM feature, a smartphone can mount a digital SIM card (an electronic code) without the need for a physical SIM card. You can think of it as having an electronic certificate rather than a physical card. By using this, you can avoid losing or damaging a physical SIM card because you won’t require one. You can use two lines on one phone if you use a model that accepts both a physical SIM card and an eSIM card.

How Many Types of eSIM in South Korea?

In South Korea, there are 2 different kinds of eSIM: Data Only and Voice, SMS, and Data. Each has unique features and capabilities that will interest various user types. 

  • Data-Only eSIM: It is exactly what its name implies – it only uses data. Data-only eSIMs provide exceptional coverage and increased connectivity. 
  • Voice, SMS, and Data eSIM: It is a package deal that covers all of the common mobile services. 

If your demands are just checking social media, using the internet for maps, booking,…, a data-only eSIM will be your best option. On the other hand, if you are on a long trip or business trip, you can flexibly use voice, SMS, and data eSIM to stay connected while traveling. 

Why do You Need an Internet-Connected Device When Traveling to South Korea?

You absolutely need an internet-connected device when traveling in Korea
You absolutely need an internet-connected device when traveling in Korea

Traveling with a phone is essential. We rarely use it to make or receive calls but having the internet in our pocket often comes in handy. We will need an internet-connected device to:

  • Look up directions: It’s great not having to plan the route in advance. New travelers who come to South Korea will absolutely need a map for directions.
  • Find restaurants: We use apps to find nearby restaurants, coffee shops, or whatever business we need.
  • Translate: We can translate menus or look up phrases to help communicate with locals. 
  • Tether: We can turn the phone into a mobile hotspot and connect our laptops. It’s great when the Wi-Fi goes down.
  • Contact people: It can be handy, especially when meeting your booking partner in South Korea.

From these purposes, it can be easily concluded that an internet connection is indispensable when traveling to South Korea. 

Why Should You Use eSIM for Internet Connection When Traveling South Korea?

In South Korea, there are numerous ways to connect to the internet, but for tourists, eSIM will be the best choice. Many lodging options offer guest WiFi, but once you leave the building, you won’t have affordable access to the internet, which you’ll need for a variety of things like checking the schedules, platforms, and stations of public transportation as well as using navigational apps like Naver Map and KakaoMap.

Korea eSIM is an indispensable item for those who: 

  • Want unlimited data when traveling: With eSIM, you can have up to 3GB per day 4G LTE.
  • Want good service and reasonable price: When compared to regular data-only SIM cards, eSIM in Korea offers incredibly low prices.
  • Want to avoid stress on traveling: Receive the activation QR code through email, scan it on the activation day, and there is no need for pickup or delivery.
  • Need responsive customer service: Online support on eSIM is often fast and easy than support on SIM card problems. 

eSIM was considered the best mean of internet connectivity for travelers. Compared to other internet devices, eSIM has outstanding features. 

Pros and Cons of eSIM in South Korea for Travelers

Below are some pros and cons of eSIM for South Korea. It can help travelers to make their own choice of means of communication. 

Advantages of US eSIM:

  • Online purchase and activation: You’ll get your South Korea eSIM right away after purchasing the eSIM from an eSIM provider. You will not need to come to the local stores to buy a SIM.  
  • Reasonable price: eSIM has a better price than SIM card, data roaming, and pocket wifi. You can check out the comparison in the next part.
  • Support: eSIM carriers may always be ready to provide you with online support. Instant online support will be more convenient than having to go to the provider’s office to get help. 
  • Secure: eSIM cannot be physically lost or harmed. It’s easy to save your QR code to reactive your eSIM.

Disadvantages of US eSIM: 

  • Hard to switch/transfer data: eSIM can not physically transfer data from other devices. 
  • Restriction on old models: Only specific modern phone models support eSIM. If you are using an older model, it will be an important thing you need to know. 
  • Privacy: When using eSIM, it is problematic for those who do not want to be followed by carriers. Your eSIM will be managed by your provider whenever you are still in the eSIM plan. 

We can see the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of eSIM. Thus, it’s recommended to use an eSIM for your South Korea traveling instead of a physical SIM card.

South Korea eSIM vs Other Internet Connection Alternatives

If your cell phone is not compatible with eSIMs for South Korea, we advise you of further solutions that will allow you to connect to the internet. You can choose to employ an eSIM or another solution with the help of the comparisons below.

FeaturesUS eSIMSIM cardData RoamingPocket Wifi
Buy and activate onlineAvailableNot availableAvailableNot available
PriceReasonableCheapExpensiveExtra expensive
Data/ConnectionExtensive data (based on plans)Stable connectionFast connectionFast and shareable connection
Call and SMSAvailable (based on plans)AvailableAvailableNot available 
UsageTrip in less than 3 monthsTrip more than 3 monthsTrip in less than 1 monthFamily trips
RisksUnstable connectionLong-days registration Out of budgetFine for loss misplacement
eSIM and other internet connection alternatives

When Should You Buy a South Korea eSIM plan? 

You can buy an eSIM whenever it’s most convenient for you- the day before your trip or when you get there. Please be aware that the start of your data plan is when it is installed. Your device has to be connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular data network in order to install an eSIM. We advise you to use free public Wi-Fi, like those available at airports, to install an eSIM.

Which devices are compatible with eSIM?

The eSIM compatible device list could be different depending on eSIM Korea data plans.

eSIM Korea Compatible Apple devices:

  • iPhone 13, 13 Pro Max, 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone SE 2020
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XR, XS, XS Max

eSIM on iPhone is not offered in Mainland China. In Hong Kong and Macao, only iPhone XS features eSIM.

eSIM Korea Compatible Google devices:

  • Google Pixel 5. 5a 5G
  • Google Pixel 4a, 4
  • Google Pixel 3, 3 XL 
  • Google Pixel 2

ONLY compatible with 4GB+ data plan

eSIM Korea Compatible Samsung devices:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 FE 5g, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 FE. 
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5g, Samsung Note 20+.
  • Samsung Galaxy S20, s20+, and S20 Ultra (Single SIM Nano-SIM and/or eSIM models).
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung Galaxy Fold, and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip support eSIM Korea.

South Korea Mobile Internet Speeds, Prices Insights

South Korea is not the least costly nor is it the most expensive nation in East Asia. The same cannot be true of mobile data rates, as they are very expensive.

How much does mobile data cost in South Korea, then?

In South Korea, the average cost of 1 GB of data is 16 463 KRW (12.55 USD), which is significantly more than the 1.47 USD average for Asia. 3.12 USD is the global average.

South Korea actually ranks as the tenth most costly nation for mobile data.

Mobile data cost rank
Mobile data cost rank

So, yep, be ready to pay a big penny for data plans in South Korea.

Asia data usage
Asia data usage

Okay, so plans with data features will cost a fortune, but will you at least receive fast speeds? The average mobile download speed in South Korea is over 107 Mbps, which is more than treble the average speed worldwide.

Major Mobile Network Carriers in South Korea

There are 3 main mobile operators in Korea. SK Telecom, KT South Korea, and LG U+ (formerly LG Telecom). They offer mobile networks that are 2G, 3G, and 4G.

SK Telecom

SK Telecom (에스케이텔레콤), popularly known as T World, is the biggest mobile operator in South Korea. Additionally, it is the finest mobile provider in the nation.

For postpaid plans, it is South Korea’s most expensive mobile operator. In contrast to its rivals, SK Telecom’s Korea SIM offerings (Korea SIM Gold, Korea SIM Purple, and Korea eSIM Red) are cheaply priced.

Network coverage: In South Korea, SK Telecom has strong coverage. Additionally, it has the best 5G NR reach and availability (together with KT South Korea). Unfortunately, prepaid users, Korea SIM cards, and eSIMs are not yet able to use 5G NR. SK Telecom’s coverage map is shown below:

SK Telecom's coverage map
SK Telecom’s coverage map

If you have a large budget for a trip and want to have a stable internet experience, choose eSIM locally operated by SK Telecom.

KT South Korea

  • 2G Voice: 1.8Ghz CDMA2000 1x (currently not available)
  • 2G Data: 1.8Ghz CDMA2000 1x Ev-DO rev.0 (currently not available)
  • 3G Voice: 2.1Ghz WCDMA
  • 4G Voice: 1.8Ghz LTE (Only in case of VoLTE voice call)
  • 4G Data: Bands 3, 8, and 26

The second-largest mobile operator in South Korea is KT South Korea (주식회사 케이티), also known as just KT and formerly known as Korea Telekom & Olleh. SK Telecom has the best 5G NR availability. Unfortunately, prepaid consumers cannot currently access 5G NR.

Network coverage: KT has superb coverage throughout South Korea. In addition, it boasts the best 5G NR reach (together with SK Telecom) and the best 5G NR availability. Unfortunately, prepaid users and Korea SIM cards are not yet able to use 5G NR. Here is a map of KT’s coverage:

KT's coverage map
KT’s coverage map

KT is also a good option of network operation for those who have a good budget and look for a reasonably good LTE connection for the South Korea trip.


  • 2G Voice: 1.8Ghz CDMA2000 1x (expires on 2018)
  • 2G Data: 1.8Ghz CDMA2000 1x RTT (expires on 2018)
  • 3G Voice: 1.8Ghz CDMA2000 1x
  • 3G Data: 1.8Ghz CDMA2000 Ev-DO rev.A
  • 4G Voice: 2.1Ghz/800Mhz Multi-carrier LTE (Only in case of VoLTE voice call)
  • 4G Data: 2.1Ghz/800Mhz Multi-carrier LTE

The smallest mobile operator in South Korea is LG U+ (LG LG유플러스), also known as LG U+. It features the nation’s fastest 4G/LTE upload speeds. 

Network coverage: There is great LG U+ coverage all around South Korea. Here is a map of LG U+’s coverage:

LG U+'s coverage map
LG U+’s coverage map

Despite being a small network operator, LG U+ has great coverage that can ensure your connection is stable during traveling.

Best eSIM Plans for South Korea Traveling

Travelers can refer to these plans and consider their needs to decide which one is suitable for you: 

eSIM planDataDurationPricePrice/GBCover destination
Airalo LG U+5GB10 days$15.00$3/GBSouth Korea
AIS SIM2Fly Asia6GB8 days$18.00$3/GBSouth Korea + 31 countries
MOGO Asia-Pacific 30GB30 days$59.90$2/GBSouth Korea + 16 countries
UPeSIM – Korea eSIM 6GB12 days$11.46$1.91/GBSouth Korea
Klook Unlimited Data eSimUnlimited (4-8GB high speed)14 days /30 days$28-$44UnlimitedSouth Korea
Best eSIM plans for South Korea traveling

Gigago eSIM for South Korea

Airalo – LG U+ 5 GB

You can get gigabytes of data from Airalo at a reasonable price. Their website, software, and entire experience are fantastic, and Airalo makes it quite simple to get an eSIM. One of the best Airalo plans for travelers is LG U+ 5GB. You can get a 5GB package with a 10-days length for $15. Here are some essential details regarding this eSIM package from Airalo:

  • Non-Rechargeable.
  • Non-Refundable.
  • LTE local eSIM for data only (Once the data allowance is reached, any use will be limited to a lower speed rate of 128 kbps).
  • Pixel-compatible gadgets are incompatible.
  • Operates in South Korea using the LG U+ network.
  • The phone number simply functions as a call-receiving number.

eSIM2Fly – AIS SIM2Fly Asia

For travelers traveling through South Korea, eSIM2Fly, a provider of eSIMs based in Thailand, has a fantastic deal to offer. This 6GB package, which costs $18 and is valid for 8 days, is a wonderful deal if you also travel to other Asian nations. Basic details concerning this strategy are provided below:

  • eSIM code instant digital delivery.
  • Rechargeable.
  • Contains a Thai telephone number.
  • On the first usage, the plan is activated.
  • eSIMs can neither be uninstalled nor shared.
  • 10 days or less before your trip, make your purchase.
  • Must be activated in a nation that the plan supports.

MOGO – Asia-Pacific 

MOGO will more than satisfy individuals who consume a lot of data! Mogo’s “Asia-Pacific 30 days plan” is a particularly amazing deal. You may get all the information you require for a fair price! The MOGO eSIM is priced at about $59.90.

  • Rechargeable plan.
  • Information about capacity: unlimited 2G (128 kbps) after running out of high-speed data.
  • Expires in 30 days (s).
  • After purchasing, the eSIM will remain active for 180 days.
  • Only the nations and/or areas supported by your current eSIM are available for you to purchase data packages.
  • The purchase of an eSIM is not returnable.
  • After the eSIM expires, any unused data packages will become null and void.
  • Once the eSIM profile has been set up, kindly do not remove it. The user will lose their right to a refund if they deactivate their eSIM profile without first contacting customer support for assistance. No refund will also be given in this case.

UPeSIM – Korea eSIM 

It’s also worth mentioning UPeSIM, which offers an inexpensive 12-day subscription with 6GB of data for $11.46. This plan will give you:

  • LTE 4G speed.
  • With a fresh eSIM, rechargeable.
  • Validity begins upon activation.
  • SK Telecom roaming.

Klook Unlimited Data eSIM

This eSIM only supports data. There are no calls or texts available. Top-up is accessible through Klook (Indicate top-up and contact merchant). There are several options for high-speed data and duration with Klook Unlimited Data eSIM. Some of the characteristics of Klook Unlimited Data eSIM are listed below:

  • Immediately confirm.
  • Unlimited data with a reasonable usage policy (first 4/8GB at fast speed or first 3/5GB at high speed).
  • 30 or 14 days.

How to Install eSIM for South Korea on Your Device?

With each smartphone, installing the South Korea eSIM is extremely different. You can use this instruction to install eSIM on iOS and Android devices.

Install eSIM on iOS Devices


  • Go to Settings > Cellular/Mobile > Add Cellular Plan/ Add Mobile Data Plan.
  • Choose Enter Details Manually. Then, enter SM-DP + Address, activation code, and confirmation code
  • Choose a label or customized label for your eSIM.
  • Under the Default Line page, select your eSIM for cellular data only.

QR code

  • Go to Settings > Cellular/Mobile > Add Cellular Plan/ Add Mobile Data Plan.
  • Scan your eSIM QR Code using the printed QR code or a different device that can show the QR code.
  • Enter the 4-digit confirmation code if requested. If you are not given the confirmation code, you can skip this step.
  • Choose a label or customized label for your eSIM.
  • Under the Default Line page, select your eSIM for cellular data only.

Install eSIM on Android Devices


Install eSIM manually on Google devices:

  • Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Tap on the + icon next to Mobile Network
  • Tap on Download a SIM instead > Next > Need help?
  • Tap on Enter Data Manually
  • Enter the SM-DP+ Address & Activation Code

Install eSIM manually on Samsung devices:

  • Go to Settings > Connections > SIM Card Manager
  • Tap on Add Mobile Plan > Scan Carrier QR Code > Enter Code Instead
  • Enter the SM-DP+ Address & Activation Code
  • Tap on Confirm

Install eSIM manually on other Android devices:

  • Go to Settings > Network & Internet
  • Tap the + icon next to Mobile Network
  • Tap Next when asked Don’t have a SIM card?
  • Tab Enter Code Manually. You will be asked to enter: SM-DP+ Address and Activation Code

QR code

Install eSIM on Google devices by QR code:

  • Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Tap the + icon next to Mobile Network
  • Tap on Download a SIM instead > Next
  • Use the Camera to scan the QR code
  • Activate eSIM

Install eSIM on Samsung devices by QR code:

  • Go to Settings > Connections > SIM Card Manager
  • Tap on Add Mobile Plan > Scan Carrier QR Code
  • Use the Camera to scan the QR code
  • Tap on Confirm

Install eSIM on other Android devices by QR code:

  • Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Tap the + icon next to Mobile Network.
  • Tap Next when asked Don’t have a SIM Card?.
  • Scan the eSIM QR code attached in the order confirmation email.

Add eSIM by camera app on Android:

  • Open your Camera or a QR Scanner app.
  • Scan the eSIM QR code provided in the PDF file that is attached in the order confirmation email.
  • When the notification Cellular Plan Detected pops up, tap on it.
  • Tap on Continue at the bottom of your screen.
  • Add Cellular Plan.

FAQs about eSIM for South Korea

Below are some frequently asked questions about eSIM for South Korea.

  • Which devices are compatible?

eSIM can be used with iOS and Android smartphones that are both unlocked AND eSIM-compatible. Please ensure that SIM-locked devices cannot be utilized.

  • Is it possible to use Nationwide eSIM Plans throughout Korea?

Yes, eSIM Korea Plans are functional throughout Korea. We choose and give the top data packages with the finest nationwide coverage.

  • Before my travel, should I purchase and activate an eSIM?

You can buy an eSIM whenever it’s most convenient for you- the day before your trip or when you get there. Your device also has to be linked to Wi-Fi or a cellular data network in order to install the eSIM.

  • When the email is received, when does the data plan start?

Once your money for your purchase transaction has been successfully processed, the data plan is ready to use and will start when it is installed.

  • Are calls and SMS available with the eSIM plan?

eSIM offers plans with just data. Therefore, it is not possible to make local or international calls. Depending on your needs, you can utilize your data plan to call someone on WhatsApp or Skype.

  • Can I pay using a method other than PayPal?

It is strongly advised that you open a Paypal account if you don’t already have one so that you can conduct simple and straightforward financial transactions.

Final Words

Hope the article has brought useful information for your trip. If you need to buy an eSIM for South Korea, don’t hesitate to contact Gigago for further support. 

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