Monday, April 21, 2008

Cell Phones In Mokpo

It's safe to say that cellular phone companies are the most discriminatory establishments in Korea. And since we're not in Seoul we don't have many of the side-steps that comes along with being in an international city. Now this topic has been covered before so this post will be short; after a brief survey of Mokponians, it seems like your best bet is in two options:

Korean Friend
Get a Korean friend. Arranging an informal arrangement where the phone is in the Korean friend's name will give you access to the Whites Only "Phones for Korean People" but this does introduce a dependency. If your friend is a co-worker (i.e. co-teacher) then you run the gambit of him or her insisting that your cell phone is not really your cell-phone but company property. In this situation, despite the fact that you've been paying the monthly bills, you may be forced to return the phone at any time.

Pay as You Go
Get a pre-pay phone. For a foreigner it is comparably cheaper but less convenient since they require monthly charging by way of handing money over to the clerk at the store. It is important to note that SK does not offer any such service but most Korean tour guides are oblivious to this fact and will take you there anyway. From a brief survey of Mokponians it seems that both LG and Show offer pre-pay phones plans that can be registered in a foreigner's name. In an e-mail from Angie I got this helpful information:

I use the "Pre-pay" service with LG. 30 000won one-time connection fee, then 10 000 won a month after that. Still quite expensive (I think you only get about 20 minutes of talking time for your 10 000won, so I stick to text messages and receiving calls only).

I always find the LG shops in Old Mokpo, near the railway station to be much more cooperative and friendly. They even gave me a bonus renewal once my phone credit had expired.
Important Vocabulary
From Emanuel I got some useful words:
  • PrePaid: 선불한 (aka Seonbulhan)
  • Monthly / Month contract: 매달의 / 월정의 (aka Maedarui / Woljeongui)
  • Desire to enter into a contract (contract start-want-to): 계약을 시작하고싶습니다 (aka Gyeahyageur Sijakhagosipseupnida)

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