Cell Phones, Keeping in Touch & Dialing Instructions


International plans from most US Cell Phone providers are not practical while stationed in Korea. Many current cellular or smart phones, if unlocked, will work on a Korea Cellular network. There are several ways to acquire a local Korean SIM card. We highly recommend going through the AAFES PX mobile phone service desk or the USO Cellular Service Kiosk depending on your final destination installation.

For a phone to work in Korea, it needs to satisfy these requirements:

    1. Be unlocked – some most companies sell phones with software that prevents them from recognizing another company’s SIM card. Contact your cellular network provider before you leave the US to determine if you phone is unlocked.
    2. Have a SIM card slot – certain US and Canadian providers, running CDMA networks, sell unique versions of certain phones that have no SIM card slot to prevent customers from taking their phones to other networks
    3. Support LTE data (latest generation smart phones) that operates on bands 3, 8, and 26 in Korea. If your phone does not support one of these bands, it should still connect at 3G speeds using the WCDMA 2100 MHz frequency.
    4. Support WCDMA 2100 MHz frequencies – this is most important, as this is the frequency band that most Korean networks run their 3G networks on; this capability is inherent to the phone.

Keeping in touch abroad:

While a local Korean cell number is recommended for communicating within South Korea, international plans are not practical. Service members and their families should explore the variety of other options to communicate abroad or back to the US. Many Soldiers and family members abroad find it convenient to utilize third party applications for audio or video chat functions. Below is a list of commonly used applications your family can explore to determine what will work best for your situation in order to stay in touch and communicate:

  • KakaoTalk – text, video and call (used extensively in South Korea by everyone)
  • Skype – text, call, video chat
  • Facetime – video chat (Apple only)
  • Facebook messenger – text, call, video
  • Voxer – text, walkie-talkie
  • Viber – text, call
  • WhatsApp – text, call, video
  • This list is not all-inclusive and new applications are available everyday. You should communicate with your TASP sponsor for guidance on the latest applications Soldiers and families are using to stay connected abroad.

Dialing Instructions: To/From Korea

  • Calling DSN Numbers From State Side
    • To call Korea from the US: 011-82 + area code minus '0' number
      • 011-82-31-619-XXXX (for a 754 prefix)
      • 011-82-31-690-XXXX (for a 753 prefix)
    • USFK information from the U.S. (commercial): 011-82-2-7913-1110 or 1113
    • The area code is not needed for local calls, unless using a cell phone.
    • To call a commercial number from a DSN line, first dial '99'.
    • Do NOT accept collect calls on a DSN line.
  • Calling DSN Numbers In Korea
    • To dial a DSN number from a civilian phone
      • FOR DSN 753 PREFIX dial 0503-353-XXXX
      • FOR DSN 754 PREFIX dial 0503-354-XXXX
      • FOR DSN 755 PREFIX dial 0503-355-XXXX
      • FOR DSN 756 PREFIX dial 0503-356-XXXX
    • To dial an Air Force Installation you must dial a civilian prefix
      • Osan AB dial 0505-XXX-XXXX, Osan AB Operator number: 0505-784-1110
  • Anatomy Of An International Phone Number
    • To dial a DSN number from a civilian phone
      • 011 = International call from the U.S.
      • 82 = Country Code
      • City Code:
        Buson = 51
        Daegu = 53
        Seoul = 2
        Pyeongtaek/Osan = 31
        Cell phones = 10 or 11
      • Number is typically an eight digit number
        Google: "South Korea Telephone country codes" for more city codes.
  • Calling Korean Cell Phone Numbers From The US
    • To call a cell phone, if the number is "010-1234-5678"
      Dial, 011-82-10-1234-5678
    • Cell phone prefixes are 010 or 011, drop the first number in the three digit prefix before adding it to "011-82"