How to Get Mobile Internet in South Korea for Travelers: What Option to Choose?

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world when it comes to internet connectivity and mobile technology. This blog post will provide an in-depth look at mobile internet coverage, speeds, connectivity options for tourists, internet rates, SIM cards, and eSIMs in South Korea.

Mobile Internet in South Korea

I. Mobile Internet in South Korea – Coverage and Speed

South Korea is known for having some of the fastest and most widespread mobile internet coverage in the world, which this article explores in depth by looking at the country’s coverage and speed.

1. South Korea Mobile Internet Coverage

South Korea Mobile Internet Coverage

South Korea has three major mobile operators – SK Telecom (SKT), KT, and LG Uplus. Here is an overview of the coverage offered by each:

  • SK Telecom (SKT): As the market leader, SKT has the best overall coverage in South Korea. It offers 2G coverage to 99% of the population, 3G to 97%, and 4G LTE to 95%. SKT was also the first to launch a 5G network in April 2019, which now covers 90% of the population.
  • KT: KT has a strong network that matches SKT’s coverage in many areas. It provides 2G to 99% of the population, 3G to 95%, and 4G LTE to 94%. KT launched its 5G network shortly after SKT in April 2019, reaching 88% of the population by the end of 2022.
  • LG Uplus: The smallest player, LG Uplus has very good coverage in the main cities but poorer rural coverage. It offers 2G to 98% of the population, 3G to 91%, 4G LTE to 96%. LG Uplus rolled out 5G in April 2019, reaching 86% population coverage by end of 2022.

In summary, SK Telecom generally has the best overall coverage across South Korea, followed closely by KT. LG Uplus lags in rural areas but still offers excellent coverage in major cities. For 5G networks, SKT also has a small lead over KT and LG Uplus in terms of population coverage.

2. South Korea Mobile Internet Speed

According to Speedtest Global Index, South Korea has the seventh average mobile internet speeds in the world as of December 2023. A few key stats:

  • Average mobile download speed: 140.48Mbps
  • Average mobile upload speed: 16.88Mbps
  • Low latency: 28ms
South Korea Mobile Internet Speed

This blistering performance is driven by the rapid 5G rollout across South Korea. Over 90% of speed tests in South Korea are conducted over 5G, which offers multi-gigabit speeds.

Among the major operators, SK Telecom had the fastest average download speed at 192.67 Mbps. KT achieved 107.92 Mbps while LG Uplus managed 117.14 Mbps. However, there is very little difference in real-world experience on any 5G network in South Korea thanks to the dense infrastructure.

In short, mobile internet speeds in South Korea are unmatched globally. 5G connectivity is excellent across the country with average speeds over 140 Mbps on all major operators. For the very fastest speeds, SK Telecom edges out KT and LG Uplus.

II. What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to South Korea?

There are several mobile internet in South Korea including roaming, pocket WiFi, public WiFi, SIM Card and eSIM.

You may determine the best solutions for your journey by comparing the connectivity methods in the table below:

Connectivity Option How It Works Cost Where to Buy Convenience Pros Cons
Free WiFi Connect to public hotspots provided in many public places Free Available in airports, cafes, malls, etc. No setup required

- Widely available 

- No cost

- Speed can be slow

- Spotty coverage outside cities

Pocket WiFi Rent a portable WiFi hotspot to connect your devices $5-$10 per day Order online in advance or pick up at airport Some advance planning required

- Fast, consistent connection

- Connect multiple devices

- Must order in advance

- Battery life limits

eSIM Digital SIM activated remotely; used with compatible phones $10-$30 for activation + data plan Order through provider website More convenient than physical SIM

- Easy setup

- Use with existing phone

- Limited phone compatibility

- Activation can be tricky

SIM Card Physical SIM card to insert into an unlocked phone $10-$30 for SIM + data plan Airport shops, convenience stores, providers Need to switch out SIMs

- Works with any unlocked phone

- Get local number

- Buy SIM in advance

- Switching SIMs inconvenient

Roaming Use existing phone number and plan overseas $10+ per day on top of existing plan Through current provider No changes needed - Use existing number/plan

- Very expensive

- Slower data speeds

Overall, getting a local SIM card or eSIM are the best options for most tourists visiting South Korea. Both provide affordable access to fast 5G networks across the country. eSIM offers more convenience but requires an eSIM-compatible device. For short trips under a week, roaming or public WiFi may be adequate for basic needs.

eSIMs from can help you get mobile internet in South Korea with various plans. Prominent choices consist of 8GB from 3 days to 30 days and 1GB and Unlimited.

Korea eSIM

With eSIM, you can easily install. You just purchase online, receive your eSIM QR code right away, and scan it with your gadget. You may keep your SIM card and locate WiFi. In South Korea, say hello to speedy 4G/5G internet wherever you go!

Before buying a SIM card for South Korea, you need to check if the phone is unlocked. If using eSIM, check if your phone is in your list of eSIM compatible devices.

III. Internet Rates in South Korea

Here is the comparison table of the three main mobile operators in South Korea:

Provider SIM Card eSIM Roaming Public WiFi Pocket WiFi
SKT $25/5GB (30 days) $25/5GB (30 days) $0.15/MB Free $42/10GB (30 days)
KT $34/10GB (30 days) $34/10GB (30 days) $0.15/MB Free $51/20GB (30 days)
LG U+ $42/10GB (30 days) $42/10GB (30 days) $0.15/MB Free $59/20GB (30 days)

The above price is indicative only. Contact the provider to update.

As you can see, getting a local Korean SIM card generally offers the most affordable prepaid data rates compared to roaming or international eSIM options. However, the convenience of an eSIM like makes it very competitive compared to showing your passport to register a SIM card in-country.

For tourists concerned about cost, getting a prepaid SIM card in South Korea provides cheap access to fast 5G networks. But an eSIM from is nearly as affordable and much easier to use right upon arrival.

IV. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in South Korea

Here is an overview of data SIM card options from major providers in South Korea for lengthier trips:

Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in South Korea

Provider Plan Local Price USD
SKT SIM Card 100GB for 30 days 77,000 KRW $64
KT SIM Card 60GB for 30 days 55,000 KRW $46
LG Uplus Data SIM 50GB for 30 days 71,500 KRW $60

These Korean SIM cards can be purchased online or at stores like KT Plaza, LG Uplus shop, and SKT Roaming Center by showing your passport. Pricing is quite competitive across providers. Tourists staying for longer than one month may also consider a recurring monthly plan for resident rates.

V. Data eSIM for South Korea – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet for Tourists


  • The option only works if the client's phone is eSIM compatible.
  • List some advantages of an eSIM compared to a SIM card
  • Buy directly from the operator that provides the country's eSIM or buy from eSIM providers. You can buy from gigago.comwhich provides a lot of affordable plans for tourists.

There are two options to get a South Korea eSIM:

1. Buy from South Korea Operators

The major operators SKT, KT, and LG Uplus do offer eSIM support domestically but primarily target residents. As a tourist, signing up would require showing passport or alien registration card in-store during business hours, making it inconvenient.

2. Buy eSIM from Gigago

Purchasing an eSIM from an international eSIM provider like Gigago is the simplest way for tourists to connect in South Korea.

Gigago has designed their eSIM purchase flow specifically for travelers:

  • Choose South Korea eSIM and desired data package online
  • Pay safely with VISA, MasterCard, or other international card
  • Activate South Korea plan before departure or upon arrival
  • Scan activation QR code or enter code into device settings
  • Connect to 5G networks like SKT instantly with no registration

Some key benefits for tourists of using Gigago eSIM include:

  • No passport or visa required to purchase or activate
  • Instant activation by scanning QR code
  • Flexible plans suitable for short trips or longer stays
  • Reliable connection on 5G networks like SK Telecom

For South Korea, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 3 days with $5.90 . What is great about Gigago’s South Korea eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, vary between $5.90$106.50 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in South Korea, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

With infrastructure, Gigago delivers excellent performance and connectivity leveraging the best networks like SK Telecom in South Korea at very reasonable rates for tourists. Their customer support team is also very responsive for any issues.

For almost all international tourists visiting Korea, getting a prepaid eSIM like Gigago is the most seamless way to utilize 5G networks across the country. It saves having to register a SIM card while providing excellent speeds and connectivity on advanced infrastructure. With its optimized tourist eSIM experience, Gigago stands out as the best overall option.


How good is mobile internet coverage in South Korea?

South Korea has excellent mobile internet coverage with 5G reaching 90% of the population on networks like SK Telecom. Even rural areas have fast LTE through extensive infrastructure investment.

What is the benefit of using an eSIM in South Korea?

eSIMs like Gigago allow tourists to activate South Korean data plans instantly without registering a SIM card in-person. eSIMs provide easy access to Korean networks.

Which is better, SIM card or eSIM for tourists in Korea?

For short trips, eSIMs are likely more convenient and have simpler setup. For long stays, local SIM cards may offer cheaper resident rates after the registration process.

VI. Conclusion

In summary, South Korea has unmatched mobile internet in terms of speed and coverage. Tourists have two great connectivity options – local SIM cards or international eSIM solutions. SIM cards offer basic functionality but require showing passport for registration. eSIM products like Gigago tailored to travelers eliminate that issue with a 100% digital experience ideal for short trips or longer stays. By scanning one QR code, you can gain instant access to the future with 5G connectivity in South Korea. For the optimal tourist experience, Gigago South Korea eSIM is certainly worth considering.