Phones in Korea
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Home Phone Information
Korea Telecom (KT) operates Korea’s domestic telephone services. At present KT only offers one option for connecting a land-based phone line into a home or business (prices are for each line connected):
- 60,000 won deposit (non-refundable), with a 3,000 – 5,200 won monthly service fee
- Local calls are not free and are added onto your monthly bill. Subscribers must supply their own phones.
- Korean telephone jacks have 2 pairs of prongs. Usually the primary line (and most phone jacks) uses the top 2 prongs, while any second line uses the bottom 2 prongs. Most electronics and stationary stores have adapters between Korean jacks and international RJ-11 plugs.
Home Phone Installation
Foreigners must provide a copy of their passport and pay the deposit and installation fee in advance at their local KT office. To locate the nearest office, dial the local prefix + 0000 (Korean only). The customer can choose from several available numbers. Extra services (such as call waiting and call forwarding) can also be ordered for an extra monthly fee. (See http://www.koreatelecom.com for the full fee schedule.) An installer will usually be able to connect the line within 24 hours.
Customers who purchase this service can set their phone to automatically forward all calls to another number, even a mobile phone number. To activate, dial 100. To set forwarding, dial *88 (the number to forward to) * (For example, to forward to 555-1234 you would press *885551234*) To cancel call forwarding, dial #88# on the original phone.
- Fee: 1,000 won/month (first month is free)
To cancel service or transfer an account (because of moving), visit a KT office with a recent phone bill. For transfers, the deposit will automatically transfer to the new number. For complete cancellation of service, a refund of the deposit can take up to 2 months.
Very few Koreans do not have mobile phones. The country has two major types of mobile phone services: cellular and PCS. Providers have their own prefix for numbers. Monthly subscription and per-call fees vary between providers, but PCS service is generally cheaper.
Subscribers pay for all calls that they make. Calls made to mobile phones are charged more than calls made to land line phones. However, the fee to call a mobile phone is a flat time-based charge and does not depend on the distance involved.
Foreign residents must provide their Certificate of Alien Registration, passport, and a credit card when applying for service.
PCS phone service providers:
Charge For Local, Long Distance and Mobile Phone Calls
- Local calls (within roughly 30 km) 70 won/3 minutes
- Long-distance calls (over 30 km) 70 won/3 minutes (over 100 km) 70 won/43 seconds
- Mobile phone calls 70 won/38 seconds
- Discount periods (30% discount) 21:00 ~ 07:00 daily
Most coin phones will accept 10, 50, and 100 won coins, although some older models only accept 100-won coins. Coin phones do not return change after a call, but more calls can be made if money from the original deposit is still available. (For example, 2 calls of less than 3 minutes can be made with one 100 won coin.)
Therefore, as a courtesy to others, if money is still available on the phone, push the green “make another call” button instead of hanging up. (You can often find the handset lying on top of the phone instead of being hung up. You can often use these phones without having to pay the full amount for a phone call.)
To use, take the receiver off the hook, insert coins, then dial the number. The receiver will beep several times just before time runs out. Inserting more money can extend calls.
Pre-paid phone cards in denominations of 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 won are available at convenience stores, newspaper stands, and stationary stores. (Public card phones usually specify the nearest location to purchase one.)
To use, take the receiver off the hook, insert the card, and dial the number. The display tells how much money remains on the card. End a call by hanging up and retrieving the card, or make additional calls by pressing the green button and dialing the next number. If the card runs out of money during a call, the receiver will beep several times. Press the red “change card” button and insert a new card.