ESL South Korea

Phones and Communication in Korea

Few foreigners in Korea these days still bother with landline telephones in their apartments.  Unless you’re planning on staying in the same apartment for many years a cell phone is a much more convenient option and will spare you the expense and hassle of bothering with phone companies.

However, if you need a landline for whatever reason you can apply for installation at any local telephone office with your passport.  The installation fee is around 60,000 won, ($60) and the basic monthly charge is 5,200 won.  You still need to provide your own handset which can be bought at any big shopping mart.

Public telephones are available everywhere and you’re bound to find one on most busy streets and main roads. Phone cards for domestic and international calls can be bought at most convenience stores.

Mobile phones

There are more mobile phones in Korea than there are people!  You’ll be hard pressed to ever find a Korean without his trusted cell phone (called ‘handphone‘ locally) at his side.  Getting a mobile phone is fairly straightforward once you have a alien registration card (it’s nearly impossible to get without).  Visit any cell phone shop visit, preferably with a Korean colleague or friend and see what options are available.  It’s a good idea to get a cell phone as soon as you have your Alien card, since this will be the primary way your boss and school will communicate with you.

International Country Codes
To phone from Korea you need to use the following country codes.  Use this order:  Dail 001 + country code + area code + phone number

Australia: 61
Canada: 1
Ireland: 353
New Zealand: 64
South Africa: 27
United Kingdom: 44
United States: 1

Online Messengers
The absolute best way to keep in touch with relatives and friends abroad is too use an online messenger like Skype, MSN, Google Talk or Yahoo! Messenger.  Skype has long been a favourite of expatriates and I’m sure you’re familiar with it.  If not, it basically allows free video calls between two people that have Skype installed on their computer.  Distance is no issue, calls remain free.  Skype also allows you to call to land lines and cell phones from your computer at a very low rate (especially to the States).

Here’s a list of area codes for different Korean cities and provinces:
Area Number
Seoul (0)2
Area Number
Ulsan (0)52
Gyeonggi-do (0)31
Daegu (0)53
Incheon (0)32
Gyeongsangbuk-do (0)54
Gangwon-do (0)33
Gyeongsangnam-do (0)55
Chungcheongnam-do (0)41
Jeollanam-do (0)61
Daejeon (0)42
Gwangju (0)62
Chungcheongbuk-do (0)43
Jeollabuk-do (0)63
Busan (0)51
Jeju-do (0)64