Monday, September 1, 2008

How to Get a Cell Phone in Korea

Today I finally got my own cell phone. Before, I had just a rental cell phone and it was a bit expensive just to have, not to mention talk on. All foreigners have to show their Alien Registration Cards to get a cell phone. It took a while to get mine, and then after I got it, the address had to be changed. I got it back for good last week. Since we were still on the summer intensive schedule, I did not have time to go and get a cell phone. I went to an SK Telecom store Friday night after work, but they were closing. I went three doors down to another SK Telecom store and the man there did not speak English. I felt like an idiot. The place was closing at that time too. Later, I looked at some places near the next subway stop in the other direction from my apartment. On one block, there were four SK Telecom stores! Saturday morning, I went to the first one on the block and told them what I wanted. A man in there told me to go to the one with T World on it. There was one employee working in there and he did not speak much English, probably only what was taught in Korean schools, which isn't much. He went next door to get somebody who spoke English and I told him what I wanted. After the first man figured out what I wanted, he said to come back on Monday. What I wanted was not available on weekends. I went back today and he remembered me. There was another man working there and he did speak English. It took a little while because it was Monday he said. I got a used handset for a prepaid phone. Here, you have to go to a dealer even if you want just a prepaid phone. You cannot buy a phone at a retail store and then set it up over a landline phone. SK Telecom stores are everywhere, and KT and LG also provide cell phone service. Virtually everybody here has a cell phone. I have confiscated cell phones from kids in class because they were playing with them. One day, about six kids who were not more than 8 (Western age) were taking pictures of me on their cell phones.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Considering I am having a hard time lately figuring out what sort of cell phones to get in this country (all the technology is getting away from me, bluetooth, mp3, etc), I say again you are doing quite well to actually wind up with a working phone...
I don't think that sounds like an idiot.
I like to watch the Amazing Race TV show, how the Americans who know nothing always seem to get people to help them, language barrier and all. People want to help, and they're smart enough to figure out the right people to ask. You're doing fine with that too. Have fun in Japan; another adventure!