Wifi means a lot to people nowadays, and also the very first thing that might come to a traveler’s mind. As a blogger and a social network freak myself, I tend to spend quite a lot of my time online to either update my whereabouts or sharing some interesting stuffs in real time while traveling, or even just to contact my family.
Everyone knows roaming is a pain in the neck especially when you are not careful, you might receive a bomb-like bill when you get back home. I made a couple of calls (less than 1 minute in total) to someone I know in Korea and guess what? My bill increased for around RM20 that month!
Many said that Seoul provides public wifi, but it is not relatively true as at most of the places you are required to buy a prepaid wifi to log into before you could enjoy the internet. I have been there twice previously and it has always been a nuisance to me due to that particular situation.
Or you could opt for the second “free wifi” option, which are the many many cafes in Seoul. However, how much of your precious time would you be willing to spend sitting in a café? Put it the other way round, how much would you have to spend on drinks just to utilize their “free wifi” service? A cup of coffee would cost around USD $5 in Seoul, whilst spending around 1 hour or more in the café, in my opinion, this is not really a clever option for budgeted travelers like me.
What is Wifi-Korea?
I have been searching online for a while for pocket wifi and finally stumbled upon Wifi-Korea. They rent pocket Wifi to travelers to remain connected with friends, family and even colleagues while being abroad in Korea, without having to worry about absurd data roaming charges.
In my package..
When booking the pocket wifi online, you are able to select either to pick it up at their office in Insadong at no extra cost, or pay USD $5 (each way) to enjoy the hassle free delivery service right to your Korea accommodation doorstep or Incheon airport.
Note that delivery service is only available if you book it at least 2 days in advance before your arrival.
Since I’m staying with a friend of mine, I opt for the airport pick up and drop off service so that I don’t need to trouble her. I am someone that could easily lost my way around and was quite worry that I couldn’t find the pickup counter. However, it surprises me that it was actually quite easy to locate. And what’s more, it definitely saves a lot of my time from queuing up to collect it. See to believe at the picture below.
Hanjin Express is located just right opposite counter A on the third floor (departure floor), even if you are running out of time boarding your flight when you are leaving, like I did, dropping it off is trouble-free as well. At least I didn’t need to waste any minute waiting since I was rushing. Just show your pickup number which will be emailed to you 1 or 2 days before your departure to the counter staff and after acknowledging the package, you are free to use the wifi egg!
Inside the parcel:
- A Wifi-Korea soft carry case
- Instruction manual
- A Pocket Wi-Fi egg (mine was Urban Data Pack version)
- A bag for return
- An instruction card for returning the package
So, how does it work?
You just simply hold down the power button to turn it on and wait for the indication lights to lit up. It takes around a few seconds to track the wifi signal and then you are ready to connect. Search for the Wi-Fi network on your phone or laptop and select the name of your device, which is available at the back of it.
How if another person wants to connect to your wifi egg? No worries, ID and password is at the back of the egg.
Or your phone having Alzheimer or dementia like mine does and forgotten all wifi passwords? Just flip your egg behind.
To charge it, plug it in to a power outlet using the adaptor provided. It says that it could last around 8 hours, but mine lasted for around 6 hours, no off, so I think its still good though. Anyhow, you could always prolong its battery life by turning off the wifi device when you don’t need it.
Super convenient to carry about size
As someone who always carries a DSLR around, any extra bulky stuff would be a headache and a burden to my pity little shoulder. In this case, the pocket wifi was just as big as a palm size, I could easily tugged it into my pocket even if I’m not carrying any bag along. Incredibly convenient to carry around.
Speed & network coverage
Back in Malaysia, internet speed is way too horrible. I could go berserk just waiting for Facebook to load. Although I chose the UDP pack which only provides 4G wibro internet speed, it still managed to run quite smoothly and fast when the signal is good which I don’t need to wait for my Facebook to load like in my own country, and uploading pictures to my social media networks was fast too even with 2 users connected at the same time, just snap your fingers and your picture is already uploaded.
Signal works quite well in populated areas, and even in the subway, I’m still receiving strong signals. There had been a post about not receiving signal in subway stations, but mine was working quite well even when the train is running.
If you don’t mind being disconnected at certain places, UDP will be a fine choice (but might not work in some place outside Seoul). However for BUSINESS purposes, I highly recommend using ESP, so the signal doesn’t interfere with your activities.
Wifi-Korea provides 2 different packages, which is the Urban Data Pack (UDP) and Everywhere Speed Pack (ESP).
For UDP, the device rental will cost USD $2.99 with a capacity of 2GB per day, with 4G wibro internet speed.
While ESP provides 4G LTE speed which cost USD $3.99 but only with 700MB per day.
If you plan to be in Korea and stay more than 3 weeks, you can opt for the monthly rental which is cheaper than the daily rates.
Update as at Jan 2015: The data usage for Urban Data Pack had been changed from 2GB to UNLIMITED.
Do you want DISCOUNT?
I recently visited Wifi-Korea to say Hi! and have a small chat with the guys, and guess what? They told me to share a good deal with my readers!
Everyone can get 10% discount off if they rent it through this link! Just fill in the online reservation form! But in return, can I ask a favor from you to select “Elley Jin” from the referred by column (as shown in picture below)? Please?
- Pocket size
- Smooth and fast speed when network is good.
- Staying connected on the go and doing some stuffs online when waiting for transport to arrive.
- You can get your Wifi-Korea egg right away upon reaching your accommodation, or hassle free pick up from Incheon airport.
- Great customer service.
Not so good:
- Limited network coverage. For UDP pack, I could only get signals when I’m in urban areas. However, in the area I was staying at (Eungamdong), I wasn’t able to receive any signals at all even though I was out of the house.
All in all, I do and will recommend Wifi-Korea to my friends and family who are visiting Korea, and thank you Wifi-Korea for giving me this opportunity to try out the service. Definitely going to use it again the next time I visit and hopefully someday Wifi-Korea is able to extend it’s network coverage for UDP to more places particularly around the city.