Cell Phones & Keeping in Touch

Use Your Phone from Home

Most modern-day smartphones will work in Korea without any problems. Currently, Samsung, LG and Apple are the most popular among locals, with a continuously growing 5G network available. Most military members simply switch their SIM card and opt for a year-long local cell phone plan for their tour. The major Korean service providers are Korea Telecom (KT), SK Telecom, and LG U+.

Switching SIM cards will change your number and you will not receive calls or texts to your previous number until the SIM cards are swapped back.

Pro Tips
  • Unlock your phone prior to coming: Call your carrier to make sure your phone is “unlocked” before traveling overseas
  • 2-Factor Authentication: Before traveling overseas, it’s recommended to update your accounts’ 2-Factor Authentications to email in case you switch SIM cards and cannot readily access your US number
  • Avoid monthly plans as they do not have a military clause that allows you to cancel your contract for operational reasons
  • Check before buying! Some newly purchased phones may not be able to be “unlocked” for several months after purchase in the States

Wireless Stores at BX

The BX has options for cell phone and internet with bilingual Korean employees that can help you choose a service provider. You might find a wider range of options at local providers on the economy.

To sign up for a plan, bring:

  • ID Card
  • Copy of PCS Orders
  • Payment
  • Current Phone

Keeping in Touch with Family Back Home

  • iPhone iMessage/Facetime (Free texts & video calls)
  • WhatsApp (Free texts, calls & very popular)
  • Google Voice (Free, very popular, & gives U.S. number)
  • Facebook Messenger (Free texts and calls)
  • Skype (Free chats & video calls)
  • Magic Jack App (Free/$ voice calls & U.S. number)
  • Vonage (Costs $, U.S. number & voice calls)

Note: Some apps, like Google Voice, must be activated in the U.S. before you depart. It’s recommended to download all desired apps and check them for functionality prior to PCSing.

Note: For phone numbers to work in these apps, try adding “+” before the Country Code