Local SIM – Megafon
First, you need to buy a local SIM-card in Russia. Tariffs are different according to a mobile operator you choose. If you choose Megafon, then the international calls will be cheaper. Some prices you can find in the table below.
|4 rubles||6 rubles||1 ruble||11 rubles||6 rubles||14 rubles
If you did not find your country in the list, please write a comment at the end of this article. We will give you the price for your country.
You should remember the prices will be available only if you turn on the special service. You need to type *105*0081# on your phone or send an empty SMS to the number 0500981. We advise to wait 15-30 minutes, because this option needs time for activating. This option costs 60 rubles permanently and 2 rubles every day subscriber fee.
Local SIM – MTS
The MTS company is also has an option for cheap international calls. You need to send SMS with text “902” to number 111. After the option will turn on, the prices will be:
|5 rubles||10 rubles||1,5 ruble||10 rubles||10 rubles||25 rubles
As you see, the prices are worse than Megafon, but better than BeeLine (see below). Turning on this option will take 50 rubles out your balance.
Local SIM – BeeLine
If you bought a SIM-card from the BeeLine company, then we will advise to take it out of your smartphone and drop it into a trash can. The tariffs are awful, the service is bad, and it is better to buy MTS or Megafon.
|15 rubles||15 rubles||15 ruble||15 rubles||15 rubles||50 rubles
What is cheaper – roaming services or Russian SIM?
We are not able to answer the question, because we do not know your roaming prices. Maybe, your prices for roaming services are very cheap, and purchasing a Russian SIM-card will be useless for you. According our experience, such situation is rare. In most cases, buying a SIM card in Russia will save you money. If it is still expensive for you, then we have a few ideas.
Mobile internet + Skype (or any other messenger program)
If you buy a local Russian SIM-card, then you will have a mobile internet service. So, you can use the messaging programs - Skype, Viber, etc. Skype is the best idea for Russia, it is working well in our country, and many people here use it.
There is the best Skype tariff for travelers. It costs only 10,5 Euros, and you will have unlimited calls to most countries of the world. The tariff is called “Unlimited World”. We hope it is available at the moment you read this article.
There are some features of Russian mobile internet, you need to know about. The quality of mobile internet access service is not very good in Russia. If you talk by Skype, you should be ready for the bad connection. We recommend to stand on the place while talking.
Unfortunately, in Russia we often need to choose – to be mobile without internet or to have the internet access without being mobile.
Free WiFi internet + Skype (or any other messenger program)
If your hotel provides you with free WiFi, you can use it for calling with Skype or other messenger program. This is the cheapest method of calling to the homeland. If your friends also have the Skype program installed, then you can talk absolutely free. As for us the Russians, we usually use this unpaid way while traveling to other countries.
If you do not have internet access at the hotel, you can use any other free access service. There are many sources – Moscow subway, Russian McDonald's, some other restaurants, etc.
Using stationary phone at your hotel
This service can be cheap or expensive, it depends on the hotel. If the hotel has the direct contract with any international calls operator, and the automatic telephone system is tuned correctly, then the prices for calls to other countries will be similar to the mobile provider’s prices we wrote above.
But, this situation is rare. Usually, hotels do not care, and the calls are very expensive. In any way, we recommend to ask for the price-list at the reception desk, maybe you will be lucky.
We wish you cheap calls and good connection. Read other tips for tourists in Russia (see the link list below and on the left from any article text).