This post is long overdue. I didn’t have a mobile phone (or “handphone”) until I went back to school in August 2008. Imagine five years of not having your own cell phone? I just didn’t see any reason to have one since I was a homemaker and there are public pay phones everywhere.
The phone that I had was a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law, a 3-yr old Samsung E-350 on KTF line. It was old and it didn’t have a lot of functions but it worked and the monthly fee on that phone usually ranged from 12,000 won to 22,000 won. On KTF line, I could make phone calls even when I’m in the elevator.
After two years (for a total life of 5 years) the Samsung broke. It just wouldn’t turn on and I didn’t want to waste my time to go to a service center. I just decided to get another phone – the Google Nexus One. I never even thought about getting the more popular iPhone. Well, that’s me.
It’s so easy to get a phone in Korea for a citizen. One only needs an ID, a bank account or a credit card and in 15 minutes I walked out of the shop with a new phone.
Since the Samsung phone was under my husband’s name, the shopkeeper told me that I would need my husband to get a new phone for me. I didn’t want to bother with that either so I just decided to get a line on my name. I was going to get the Nexus One. I inspected and held other phones but when I saw the HTC Desire I felt that I had to get it.
HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy, Sony Xperia and Motorola’s Droid are all under SK Telecom’s. The HTC Desire was then 160K won on a 45,000 won all-in-one monthly plan. The All-in-One 45 gives me 200 free minutes, 4K won worth of SMS/MMS and 500 MB data. The HTC Desire is now (as of Nov 25th) only 80,000 won on a 45K won monthly plan.
Having a Korean ID makes getting a phone super easy. I just fill in the application form, showed my ID and wrote down my credit card number. I also got to choose the last four digits of my phone number. The whole process only took about 15 minutes. I didn’t have to pay any registration fee since the shop was having a promotion that time.
I’ve had my phone for more than four months now. I pay a monthly fee of 45,000 won plus 9,000 won monthly fee on the phone plus VAT for a total of 59,000 won a month. That’s almost four times the usual amount I used to pay on my KTF phone!