[Q] Can I buy an iPhone 5 in the States to use it in South Korea with LTE ?
[A] Yes, selectively but you won’t get full product support within South Korea .


– following information is known to be Globally true the WeekEnd of November 10th 2012 and may change at any time without further notice, thus refer to it at your own risk –


explained :


it is best to purchase a Nano SIM Card from either KT or SKT before departing South Korea or have one sent to you in the States . only the main branches of telecommunications carrier currently sell Nano SIM Cards as it is still NOT locally used . and make sure you can use international roaming on it, as it is how you will verify it works abroad .



selective Apple Stores in the States are selling iPhone 5 without subscription from this Week November 12th 2012, where you have to choose the following version for LTE use in South Korea :

  • Global Unlocked iPhone 5
  • model A1429
  • name openmodel1
  • for data transfer : you should purchase Verizon or Sprint model for LTE use,
    or else you will be limited to 3G on AT&T model 

Palo Alto Apple Store where you can purchase a Verizon model for use within South Korea this Week


  1. it is a matter of which carriers in which countries carry the same LTE frequency as South Korea, listed on Apple main webpage
  2. and whether you can get an internationally unlocked device without signing up for subscription ..
  3. also whether you there will be a waiting period
  4. but it is possible to order out-of-the-country on foreign Apple Stores after which delivery will be your issue ..
  • nearest Japan is a no-no because none with sell unlock cell phones
  • Hong Kong is compatible and better when the rates are in your favour “V”
  • Singapore compatible BUT seems there’s a long waiting period currently -_-
  • down-under Australia is compatible also, but make sure you inquire to country-unlock before purchase


[ ORDERING FROM ABROAD ] will mention purchasing general products including iPhones and iPads here :

quite a selection of American canned food, cheese and wines are available on underground floors of major department stores like ShinSeGae, Midopa and Lotte, larger supermart chains like HomePlus, eMart and Lotte Mart and the relatively few CostCo throughout the Korean Peninsula .

there are also independent but dependable On-Lone shops offering specific range of items such as Japanese food and secondary orders from CostCo, because their location is scarce .

even though all these are availabe via next-day delivery throughout the Korean Peninsula, some opt to order from abroad for some are still expensive and others still not available locally . in this aspect two kinds of service exist :

  1. offering a local US States-side address to order from sites such as Amazon as they only deliver books internationally, with a bulk ware-housed in California (for childrenswear), New Jersey (for apparel and shoes) or Oregon to evade sales tax . quite a number of enthusisasts order iPad this way when Official Korean release were hindered, especially since Wi-Fi version are fully warrantied in South Korea .
  2. and those that operate as a shopping site abroad in Korean for those unapt linguistically to use eBay . many Apple-fans used those in Korean outlets in Hong Kong to buy iPhones which are compatible with South Korea, for they are within Asia to be delivered in three days via courrier 😉 more-over those specializing in electronics even offer their own one-year warranty to repair, although you have to send and receive by air courrier again .




I still have to witness a traveller who is caught to pay import duties on a single cell phone or two he/she is carrying, still normally when you import a foreign product for use in South Korea, you have to pay :

  • 10% customs tariff duty
  • 10% VAT value added tax

but the following are exempt from 10% customs duty :

  • consumer electronics
  • products manufactured in countries that have FTA inter-trade agreements, in which case the INVOICE attached with the package must indicate a clause stating “Preferential Origin” to the originating country .



for KT (but I recommend the former for although KT had announced you can sign-up foreign-bought device on both locations, some discrepancies that clerks in KangNam not sure which models works LTE in South Korea)

  1. Olleh Square
    Seoul Subway Line 5 GwangHwaMun Station Exit 2 and you are there,
    sandwiched between the American Embassy and the most extensive English and Japanese bookstore in South Korea : Kyobo Mungo 😉
  2. Olleh Avenue, KangNam
    Seoul Subway Line 8 and trace back West towards KangNam Station, and is across from Apple Premium Reseller, Shop or whatever Concierge

*iPhones and iPad cellular versions purchased abroad won’t get full product support in any of Apple-contracted repair centers in South Korea,
neither the lucrative no-fault insurance offered from SKT and KT when signing up on a new cell phone -_-



going Once, going Twice, Three and Gone !
– Korea Tech BLog, mid-November 2012 –