Seoul airport is the most popular airport for tourists to South Korea. It is the best place to buy a SIM card if you need Internet access instantly after arrival. In fact, Incheon airport is easy to navigate. You can find the booths selling SIM cards in mains terminals. 

Keep reading this guide on buying a SIM card at Seoul Incheon Airport for tourists. Let’s start!

I. Why buying a SIM Card in Seoul?

Though there are many options to stay connected while traveling Seoul, South Korea, getting a SIM card is highly recommended due to its outstanding advantage over others. 

Use a South Korea SIM card for your trip, you will not have to pay high roaming charges or risk your private information while using public WiFi. 

The coverage and speed of mobile data offered by a SIM card plan are stable and at good quality. 

▶ Our recommendation: 

  • You should choose a data-only SIM card for South Korea which allows you to get Internet access and still maintain contacts with your family and friends in your hometown via apps. 
  • If your phone is eSIM-equipped, then use eSIM for a better experience. No more swapping SIM cards, no waiting lines at stores to get the SIM, no waiting for SIM delivery (if buying online). Just a few simple clicks, you get the eSIM profile, then scan QR code to activate your plan. 

Important Note: Make sure that your phone is unlocked so you can use it in South Korea. If your device is restricted to a certain telecom company or a certain country, you cannot use it with a Korean local SIM. Just call your cell carrier to have them unlock your phone. 

II. Where to buy a SIM card for Seoul?

Whuy buy SIM card in Seoul

You have 03 ways to buy a SIM card for Seoul travel. Below we explain each one quickly:

1. Buy online before departure (Seoul SIM & eSIM)

Simply pre-order the South Korea SIM card online.

First, you need to find a website offering travel SIM for South Korea. Research the plans they offer and choose the one that fits your needs. Place an order and make a payment. 

Then you have 02 options to get your SIM card.

  • Wait for SIM delivery to your registered address: This way requires you to register an address to receive the SIM at your home country.  
  • Pick it up at the arrival terminals once you land: Alternatively, some providers allow customers to buy a South Korea SIM online beforehand, then pick the SIM up at the Incheon airport counter (often in Terminal 1) after getting through customs. Just make sure to ask your SIM provider for more details.

Benefits of getting South Korea SIM card online:

  • No need to queue up at the airport and wait in lines (sometimes up to 1 hour) to get the SIM card
  • No need to get cash out at the airport or possibly pay international transaction fees.

Pros: the easiest, stress-free way to buy SIM card, stable connection, good coverage, cheapest price, be prepared in advance

Where to buy SIM cards at Incheon airport -

Cons: need to wait for SIM delivery, risk of delivery delays

2. Buy at Seoul Incheon airport (ICN)

This is the old-fashioned way to get a tourist SIM card in Korea. It allows you to have Internet access right upon arrival. 

However, you need to queue to get the SIM at stores in the airports. 

At Incheon airport, you can buy SIM cards from:

  • one of Korean mobile network operators’ stores (KT Olleh, SK telecom, LG U+), or
  • convenience stores like CU 1, 2, 3 in 1F Arrival Floor. 

Simply walk through customs into the main arrivals terminal and you will see several different providers.

Requirements: To buy the SIM card for South Korea at Incheon International Airport, you are required to present your legal passport. This is what not many people like to do. 

Pros: get instant Internet access after arrival

Cons: less plan options to choose, expensive than in-city or online options, must show passport for registration.

Important Note: 

  • Be aware of the opening hours of kiosks at the airport. Check if they are still open if your flight lands late at night.
  • Lines at the stands can be long, especially during busy times, so expect waits of up to an hour.

3. Buy in Seoul center in offline stores

If you have not bought the SIM card online or at the airport yet, you can still buy it in the city center of Seoul. 

There are convenience stores, phone shops, official stores of South Korean mobile internet providers that sell SIM cards for tourists. Just use Google Map to find.

Chances are, if you buy from convenience stores, you may need to prepare the SIM removal tool because staff there will not support you doing it. But, if you buy from stores of network carriers, staff may help you do so.

Location: find on Google map. 

Opening hours: vary by stores, but often not 24/24

Requirements: passport, unlocked phones

Pros: cheaper than buying at airport

Cons: registration with passport, need to find and go to the store, risk of language barriers

Pro Tip:

  • Before making a purchase, consider your travel duration, usage and choose the one that fits your needs.
  • If your phone supports eSIM, it is highly recommended to buy an eSIM so you do not have to visit an offline counter in the airport.

II.  Where to Buy a SIM Card at Seoul Incheon Airport?

Need to know: It is better for you to understand some words we use in this article so you get the full idea of the author:

  • Arrival exit: means the exit door after claiming your luggage from the baggage belts. 
  • Airport exit: means the doors to enter / leave the airport. 

1. SK Telecom store

SK Telecom booth is located at Terminal 1: in front of the arrival exits D and E or airport exits 9 and 10. Arriving at the SK Telecom stand, you need to choose a number so that other people cannot jump the queue.

There, the staff will ask about your trip’s duration and whether you want a physical SIM card or virtual eSIM. He/she will not ask about how much data you will need because all plans of SK Telecom are unlimited data. 

Location: Terminal 1

Opening hours: 24/24

Plan validity: range from 1 to 30 days

Note: SK Telecom provides data-only SIM card plans.

Buying SK Telecom SIM cards, you can get a South Korean phone number (with +82), you cannot top-up the SIM to reply to SMS or make phone calls. 

LG U+ and KT stands at Seoul Incheon airport
LG U+ and KT stands at Seoul Incheon airport (source: ticket4twoplease)

2. KT South Korea store

KT South Korea is the 2nd largest mobile carrier in South Korea. It has the best 5G NR in comparison with others.

KT South Korea has 2 booths at Seoul-Incheon airport. 

Location: 

  • One booth is located at Terminal 1 right in front of the arrival exit E or airport exits no 10 and 11. 
  • The other is located in front of arrival exits C or airport exits 6, 7. The latter is often less busy than the earlier. 

Opening hours: 6 am – 11pm (if your flight lands out of these hours, you cannot buy in stores at airports)

Plans: KT offers 2 types of plans for tourists that are data-only and data + calls + SMS. However, the latter comes with extra fees, but incoming calls and SMS are free.

Plan validity: from 5 days to 90 days

Plan price: from 6600 KRW to 71500 KRW

KT plans are unlimited data (as advertisement), but unlike SK Telecom which restricts plans’ speed at 10 Mbps, KT throttles your speeds in a different way. 

The first 10GB is with speed at full level + 2 GB of data with unrestricted speed. 

After the high-speed data runs out, the speed will be throttled at 3 Mbps (rather slow).

3. LG U+ Store

LG U+ is the smallest mobile network operator in South Korea.

Luckily, its coverage and speed is still good. 

The plans of LG U+ are even somehow better than the others (more generous).

LG U+ provides tourist SIM cards for travelers at Seoul-Incheon International Airport. 

Location: there are 2 booths of LG U+ in Terminal 1 at Seoul Incheon airport:

  • One is in front of arrival exit E and airport exit 10 and 11
  • One is in front of arrival exits C or airport exits 6 and 7 (less busy)

Plan validity: from 5 to 60 days

Plan price: from 6600 KRW to 143000 KRW.

All plans of LG U+ are “unlimited data”. 

Unlike SK Telecom, LG U+ does not restrict the speeds of its tourist SIM cards like SK Telecom does. First, you get 3 GB of high speed data (unrestricted) each day. After the high speed data runs out, you can still use data at 5 Mbps.

4. Convenience stores at airport

CU, a convenience store chain in South Korea, also sells SK Telecom and KT South Korea SIM cards (Korea Gold SIM cards), but does not sell LG U+ SIM cards. For SK telecom, the plan options are only 5-day options. For KT South Korea, there are 2 options (7 and 15 days).

Location: CU convenience store is located on the 1st floor (on the same floor where SK Telecom stands are)

What to prepare: passport, cash (Korean Won for buying in cash)

Pros: South Korea SIM cards sold in CU convenience stores provide “unlimited” data – which is not the cheapest price. 

Cons: need to queue in lines (possibly), passport registration, expensive than buying online, less options to choose from

Our recommendation: 

  • We recommend buying a Seoul SIM card online in advance or buying eSM if your phone works with eSIM.
  • It is better to buy SIM at mobile network carriers’ stores instead of Convenience stores at Incheon International Airport so as to get more options to choose from.

III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Seoul Incheon Airport – Registration Process

What to prepre to buy sim card at Incheon airport

To buy South Korea SIM card at Seoul-Incheon International airport, customers need to prepare: 

  • Passport for identification verification
  • Cash (in Korean Won) or card for payment
  • Unlocked phone

The process of registering will take about 1-2 minutes

▶ Our recommendation: To avoid this registration scheme, you can consider buying an eSIM for South Korea. This can be done online before departure or after arrival.

Factors to consider before buying a SIM card at Incheon Airport:

  • Check if your phone is unlocked
  • Decide whether or not you need to make outbound calls. The plans that have no features to make outbound calls are much cheaper. 
  • Check the time your flight lands: be aware of the opening hours of kiosks at the airport. For example, KT South Korea’s kiosk just opens from 6 am to 11pm. If you arrive after 11pm, then you can still order it online but have to pick the SIM at the store in Myeongdong or Hongdae.

IV. Best Tourist Seoul Airport SIM Cards Options and Price

1. SK Telecom SIM Plans for Tourists and Price at Incheon Airport

Here are packages of SK Telecom at Seoul airport:

DataValidityPrice
Unlimited1 day6600 KRW
Unlimited3 days18 000 KRW
Unlimited5 days27 500 KRW
Unlimited10 days38 500 KRW
Unlimited20 days60 500 KRW
Unlimited30 days71 500 KRW

Note: SK Telecom often restricts the speed of its plans at 10 Mbps.

3. KT South Korea SIM Plans for Tourists and Price at Incheon Airport

Here are 10 plans of KT Telecom at Incheon airport:

Data ValidityPrice
10 GB + 2 GB1 day6600 KRW (offline only)
10 GB + 2 GB/day (6 GB)3 days18 000 KRW (offline only)
10 GB + 2 GB/day (10 GB)5 days27 500 KRW
10 GB + 2 GB/day (14 GB)7 days33 500 KRW
10 GB + 2 GB/day (20 GB)10 days38 500 KRW
10 GB + 2 GB/day (30 GB)15 days47 300 KRW (online only)
10 GB + 2 GB/day (40 GB)20 days60 500 KRW (offline only)
10 GB + 2 GB/day (60 GB)30 days71 500 KRW
10 GB + 2 GB/day (120 GB)60 days107 200 KRW
10 GB + 2 GB/day (180 GB)90 days143 000 KRW

Note: KT South Korea and LG U+ allow customers to add credit for making outgoing calls/texts.

4. Incheon Airport LG U+ SIM Plans for Tourists and Price

Here are 8 plans of KT Telecom at Incheon airport:

DataValidityPrice
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (15 GB)5 days27 500 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (21 GB)7 days35 000 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (30 GB)10 days38 500 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (45 GB)15 days55 000 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (60 GB)20 days60 500 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (90 GB)30 days71 500 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (120 GB)40 days99 000 KRW
“Unlimited”, 3 GB/day (180 GB)60 days143 000 KRW

V. Best Mobile Network in Seoul – Coverage & Speed

As mentioned earlier, there are 03 major mobile network providers in South Korea:

  • SK Telecom,
  • KT South Korea
  • LG U+

Besides, there are also other mobile virtual network operators in South Korea.

Because you are going to travel Seoul, it is not necessary to worry about coverage and speed of the Internet here. All Internet providers offer good coverage and high speed data in the capital of South Korea. 

Therefore, it does not matter which provider you choose, it matters now which provider has plans that suit your needs. 

Here is a comparison of top 3 South Korean network providers you can refer:

Korean SIM providers compared
Comparison of top 3 South Korean network providers

VI. South Korea eSIM for Seoul – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card Seoul

South Korea eSIM Gigago - alternative to Incheon airport SIM card
Gigago South Korea eSIM plans

Another alternative option to the traditional SIM Card at Incheon airport is buying an affordable eSIM data plan for South Korea. This will remove all hassle associated with getting a SIM card at the airport. You also do not need to change SIM cards.

This way is increasingly getting popular for travelers worldwide.

To buy eSIM for South Korea, you can choose Gigago – one of the best eSIM providers in the world. Plans of Gigago eSIM are considered the most diversifying in comparison with others. 

For South Korea, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from a 3-day plan with 1GB of data per day for $5.90 as their most minimal plan. They also have 5-day, 7-day, 10-day, 15-day, 20-day, and 30-day plans ranging from 1GB to unlimited data per day, with prices from $5.90 up to $106.50.

Once you have purchased the plan, you can activate it by scanning a QR code directly using your phone camera. It will automatically loads on your device. That’s simple.

► Visit South Korea eSIM plans from Gigago to get more details.

VII. FAQs about Incheon Airport SIM Card Buying

Where can I buy a SIM card at Incheon Airport?

The main cellular carriers like SK Telecom, KT, and LG U+ have booths located in the arrival areas of both terminals 1 and 2 where you can purchase SIM cards. Some MVNO brands may also have kiosks set up near the cell phone carriers.

How much do SIM cards at Seoul Incheon airport cost?

Prepaid SIM cards typically cost around $10-30 depending on the data included. Basic 1GB data packs start from around $10 while multi-gigabyte plans range from $20-30. Make sure to confirm included features like call/text allowances.

What documents do I need to buy a SIM at Incheon Airport?

Usually just your passport is needed to verify your identity. The process takes only a few minutes. Some carriers may require you to fill a short registration form with your name, passport number etc. Credit card payments accept foreign cards but cash is also accepted.

VIII. Conclusion

There you have learnt how to buy a SIM card at Seoul Incheon Airport. As we discussed, buying at the airport can be fast but the cost is rather expensive in comparison with other options. You can consider buying eSIM as an alternative that offers all benefits of what you will get if buying at the airport but eliminates all hassles associated as well. Just make sure you prepare your best for the trip.