Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Great Cell Phone Quandary

Since before I left for Korea, really before I even signed my contract, I've been attempting to find out about using an iPhone or iPad in Korea. In the states, I did not have a contract (rather, month-to-month) and used an iPhone and an iPad with data. In Korea, I've already been having a time not having access to the internet while on the go. Subway stations are fairly easy to navigate, but the many lines and different directions on each line can be a headache. There are apps that make getting around and life in Korea much more bearable and user-friendly, so to speak. However, getting an iPhone plan here is an even bigger headache.

I would be totally okay having a basic flip phone, if I could access the internet another way. Before I got here, I'd heard that Seoul had wifi almost anywhere. While this is pretty much true, it's misleading. Almost every business has wifi, but this is confined to buildings, not on-the-go. The wifi networks outside are available but either require a login or to purchase access to the wifi.

iPhone plans are 2 year contracts, and you rent the phone instead of buying it. These two factors are deterrents for me to want to go that route. After a week of life without instant internet access, I decided that I really do need it. Well, I really do want it. :)

Now, rather than sign a whole new contract, I could possibly take over someone else's contract (a lot of expats are here for a year at a time, and need to transfer their line to a someone else when they leave the country.). I would be up for this, but it's pretty expensive. While researching just how expensive, I came across a link to KT Global Store Blog. I'd seen this before, while in the states, but it's somewhat hard to figure out all the details. Today, I looked at it again, but this time I saw the section labeled "Data Lifetime Plan" - hmmm, "data" is the word for iPads getting online, and this infers that there is no "Talk/Text" on the plan (this is a good thing).

The brilliant thing about this website is that they have someone logged into Twitter and they respond in real time to questions you have. Granted, 160 characters or less, but it's great for quick things. I asked,

olleh_expats are these data plans for iPad by contract or month-to-month? this is for those who already own an iPad?

Here in Korea, like the cell phones, users do not purchase the iPad, but pay extra on their monthly fees to rent the device. Since I already own my iPad, I wanted to make sure the data plans were available to those who already own. I turned off the computer for a while and cleaned my room up. When I got back online just now, I had a response from the twitter account!

chelseakaitlin Yes, these are the iPad plans, and they can be used with both existing iPad users and those purchasing new ones. :)

WOOHOO!!!! I can't stop smiling!! This is so perfect! Now, I can pay the monthly fees for data on the iPad, not worry about renting a smartphone, and just get a prepaid talk/text cheapy flip phone! This ultimately saves me a lot of money and headaches and contracts and hassle at the end of my stay. YAY!!!!!!

This is a topic I never found a clear answer to during my preparations in the states. So, to those of you who stumbled upon this blog looking for the answer to the question "Can I use my 3G/4G iPad with a SIM card in Korea?" the answer seems to be "YES!" - I'm not sure it's a physical SIM card, such as the states use, but I will find out when I go to the Global Store this weekend.

I am so happy this worked out!!! Now, I just need to find a bag/purse that I can carry my iPad around in! :) I might even be able to get an app that can call/text with Korean numbers, and avoid the whole Korean cell phone entirely! Double yay!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chelsea - this is the greatest!! Everyone and I mean, EVERYONE should log on and read!!! I'm LOVING it, and so does the other member of the household - it ain't Emma! :-)


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