3 types of WireLess Internet access exist today in South Korea :
- shared wireless Internet access at work or home where you connect your notebook wireless via your router, which splits the signal from one external line (pro : fast, con : very short range)
- roaming access where you have to search around town for subscribed Access Points such as NesPot, or even free WiFi HotSpots such as in StarBucks (con : limited to specific spots in concentrated areas downtown)
- subscribed services where you access Internet from anywhere in town, with a dedicated dongle inserted into your USB slot (W20,000 ~ 30,000 monthly)
here we will talking about (3) above where you can access Internet mostly where cell phones work (not necessarily the same cell phone carrier). but again the service divided into 2 categories :
[A] HSDPA Internet using existing cell phone signals thus virtually anythere in the Southern Korean Penninsula, but lagging to modem speed . some cell phones have this built-in but usage is limited to simple banking due to miniscule screen size (aprox. 0.3 ~ 1.0 Mbps)
[B] BroadBand connection using newer, specific signals almost as fast as work or home but limited to larger cities (aprox. 1.2 ~ 3.0 Mbps)
[ HSDPA Internet Services ]
KTF I-Plug started May 2006, 3.6 Mbps
General Plan 1GB W29,500 monthly
Special Plan 2GB W44,500 monthly
SKT T-Login started September 2006, 1.8 Mbps
Regular Plan 2GB W29,900 monthly extra W184 per 1MB
Premium Plan 4GB W45,000 monthly extra W123 per 1MB
in my opinion the former above has more stable constant connection while the latter a bit faster get cut off randomly . both cut off inside tunnels on KTX bullet train .
[ WireLess BroadBand Connection Services ]
variety of USB dongles available including those that double as HSDPA service above, mp3 player or USB memory :
KT WiBro started early 2008, available only in vicinity of metropolitan Seoul, with 1 month free trial most with dongle
1GB bandwidth W10,000 monthly, extra W25 per 1MB, or
30GB bandwidth W19,000 monthly, extra W10 per 1MB (both effective until March 2009)
SK WiBro started end of 2008, available in major cities, with 3 month free trial most with dongle
30GB bandwidth W16,000 monthly, extra W10 per 1MB (effective until March 2009)
– service commencement dates mentioned are of latter nation-wide coverage because each carrier has been experimenting with try-out users since early 2006 .
– all connection speeds mentioned are download speeds ; upload is usually less than 20% . still speeds are at the mercy of relative location much more than at office or home . but WiBro is much faster AND stable than HSDPA .
– although carriers have officially announced a starting fee amounting to W20,000 ~ W55,000 for each services above, most contracted sellers have waivered this to lure customers so in no way get talked into paying it !
– because they are paid subscriptions and adhere to business set with specific needs, all 4 services mentioned here are NOT widely used thus usually offer 3 months trial with free dongle supplied .
– all subscription price noted here are current promotion rates, where each company list a much higher normal rate beyond reality .
there are many Internet sites accepting new subscription with attractive discounts, but these are small businesses which can dissappear overnight so better consider inquiring and signing up at each carrier’s branch office, preferably larger ones operated directly by the TeleCommunication company – please refer to my Cell Phones in Korea page .
* this is a constantly evolving technology so services introduced here will hold true for roughly 3 months following posting date .
[March 2009 update] KT WiBro vs. SK WiBro compare differences
ideally KT WiBro started almost a year earlier should have better technology as well as more hotspots but is still limited to Metropolitan area of the Capital (including surrounding satelite cities). while SK WiBro have alternate strategy of servicing, although at a limited capacity in other major cities in South Korea including the port city of Busan (Pusan).
price-wise : both will cost aproximately over W30,000 monthly but both still offering promotion rates for half that, to lure users in this still early technology . but while KT Bro having started earlier has run out of initial offerings, a still-new SK Bro offers a more tastey “initial” offer in discounts .
- KT WiBro : free for the first month then W10,000 for 1GB and W25 per additional MB,
- SK WiBro : free for 3 months then W16,000 for 30GB and W10 per additional MB,
– Korea Tech BLog, March 2009 –