Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Free phone with data service for tourists to Korea in 2016

Here's a pretty sweet deal if you're planning on visiting Korea as a tourist this year. Pick up a shiny new Galaxy Note 5 in the airport when you arrive and use it for free for five days with five gigs! That's a lot of Fs!

KTO "Enjoy Mobile Korea" sign-up page

SK Telecom said Wednesday it has teamed up with the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Samsung Electronics to provide free telecom services to foreign tourists visiting the country.
The telecom company will select foreign tourists who apply for unlimited voice calls, text messages and up to 5 gigabytes of data available for five days. The tourists will also be able to borrow the latest Samsung Electronics smartphones free of charge.
SK Telecom received the first round of applications between March 15 and 20 and chose from 250 out of 2,500 applicants planning to visit Korea.
The telecom company said it will select about 250 foreign tourists every week, expecting to benefit more than 12,000 through the promotion. Interested applicants can access a dedicated website at Once chosen, they can pick up a smartphone at the SK Telecom roaming center on the first floor of Incheon International Airport.
[SKT provides free telecom service for foreign tourists]

Here's some important details on the promotion from the KTO site:

"Enjoy Mobile Korea For Free"
  • Event Period: March 15 – December 31, 2016
  • How to apply: Apply online at the Enjoy Mobile Korea promotion website ( and only selected winners will be granted the free smartphone rental
  • Services provided: Free rental of Galaxy Note 5, date (1GB per day), free local voice calls, SMS messages (for 5 days including day of pick up; international calls excluded), mobile app (VisitKorea) providing Korea tourism information pre-installed.
  • International incoming calls and SMS can be received.
  • Smartphone rental & return location: SK Telecom Roaming Center at Incheon International Airport, Level 1 (Between Gates 10 and 11) 
  • Operating hours for T Roaming Center: 06:00–22:00
  • 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
[Grab the chance to “Enjoy Mobile Korea!”]

By the way, before you get too excited, there are a couple of interesting tidbits buried in the FAQs:

Q. Can I make an international call (or SMS) with the rental phone? 
A. No outgoing international calls or SMS/MMS messages are allowed.
However, incoming international calls or messages can be received.
Q. How much will I be charged for the deposits? 
A. If you return the smartphone within the period, the credit card authorization will be cancelled. 900,000 won (net price of Samsung Galaxy Note 5) will be charged as a hold on your international credit card, which must be activated for handling international transactions.
[Enjoy Mobile Korea FAQs]

So the "free" phone will, at least temporarily, set you back a cool $900. I'm guessing that the kind of tourists who would be most eager for this promotion are the young K-pop loving S.E. Asian crowd, and I wonder if that early-20s demographic is going to have plastic like that on them. I'm not alone. But what do I know?

Anyway, your old buddy Sam is just passing the info along. Get 'er done.

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