- 1 General
- 2 MegaFon (МегаФон)
- 3 MTS (МТС)
- 4 Beeline (Билайн)
- 5 Tele2 (by Rostelecom)(Теле2, Ростелеком)
- 6 Yota (Йота)
- 7 MVNOs of banks
- 8 iTourer (WiFiinRussia)
General[edit | edit source]
In the Russian Federation some special rules for mobile telephony apply. You should check them first to avoid frustration. Basically, you can't expect anyone to speak English in this country. Better print out the offer in Russian before to show what you want. To make it easier, the most important offers are shown in this article in Cyrillic letters too.
Basics[edit | edit source]
It's next to impossible to show all prices for Russia, because their pricing is immensely complex. The Russian Federation consists of 85 so-called "federal subjects" which can be provinces, territories, federal cities or other districts and are called regions in this article. For every region even the same provider has different prices. That's why we only give it here for the Moscow region. In the capital they are the highest in the country; in rural areas you can expect to pay 10-40% less.
Networks[edit | edit source]
Russia uses European frequencies throughout its country: 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G (up to HSPA+) on 900 and 2100 MHz mainly in the cities and 4G/LTE on 800 MHz (B20) and 2600 MHz (B7) started in 2012/3 on all operators and is available for prepaid without surcharges in the major towns. Later 1800 MHz (B3) was added by all providers. Additionally many operators also operate TD-LTE networks in the Moscow region, these are often 2600 MHz but instead of FDD-LTE (Band 7) they are on 2600 MHz TD-LTE (Band 38). Tele2's LTE (TD-LTE) is on rare 2300 MHz (Band 40). In 2017 the regulator released the 2100 MHz (Band 1) previously used only for 3G, to be used for 4G/LTE too.
Tele2 also runs special purpose 450 MHz 4G/LTE (band 31) network in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Tver regions since July 2016. The main purpose of this network is to cover some rural areas with poor coverage of other frequencies. Also it's used by some government and emergency services and payphones. It's open for prepaid customers, but not recommended as it requires special equipment. There are no smartphones and tablets for this band; only some modems and routers available.
If you are looking for 4G/LTE, make sure you device supports the frequency bands. See information on each provider for details on what bands they use.
There are five national mobile network operators active in Russia:
- MegaFon (МегаФон)
- MTS (MTC)
- Beeline (Билайн)
- Tele2 (Теле2), owned and controlled by state provider Rostelecom
- Yota (Йота), joint venture with MegaFon
MegaFon has the best nationwide coverage and good speeds in cities with about 76 million customers. It's considered by many as the premier network in the country and the first one that have covered all 83 regions (except in Crimea).
MTS is at present the biggest operator with about 78 million customers and it's licensed in 83 regions of the country. It is the only provider operator that can be used roaming in Crimea.
Beeline is 3rd nationwide operator working in 78 regions with about 58 million customers. It's popular for calling to CIS countries and for lower prices.
Tele2 by Rostelecom is building a 4th national network active in 60 regions with about 44 million customers after they merged into a joint venture in 2014.
Yota is a virtual operator (MVNO) which is a 100% subsidiary of MegaFon. It uses MegaFon's radio access network but a separate switching and billing system. Yota's main point is fully unlimited data traffic but with some restrictions such as blocked P2P networks or tethering. Although the network is the same, you may not have access to LTE in some regions where Yota SIM cards are not sold, unlike MegaFon subscribers who would (this is due to licence restrictions).
There are also local operators in some regions like Motiv operating in Yekaterinburg, Kurgan, Yugra and Yamal-Nenets, Tattelecom in Tartastan or Vainakh Telecom in Chechnyia. They are not listed here, and may only be worth considering when you travel to these regions.
At the end of 2018 Megafon had 86,000 4G/LTE base stations, MTS 61,000, Tele2 47,000 and Beeline 43,000 to give you an idea.
Meanwhile Russia's MVNOs market remains relatively small. It's set to reach 6.8 million subscribers in total by the end of 2017, which were less than 2% of all mobile phone users. This has changed in 2018 when first MVNOs started mostly on the Tele2 network. The most accessible are given out by banks: Tinkoff Mobile, SberMobile and VTB Mobile, but there are others more, that are harder to get hold of.
In 2014, Crimea or Crimean Peninsula became de facto part of the Russian Federation. For legal reasons, separate network providers operate in this region. For more details refer to our special article about this territory.
No more intra-Russian roaming charges[edit | edit source]
Living in this huge country, the residents have mostly more than one SIM card. Like in the US and China, every SIM is locked to a specified provider and region too. All calls, texts and even data traffic made outside the region led to domestic roaming surcharges even within the same provider. Furthermore, when roaming, there were incoming charges even for calls from the same provider. The Russian anti-monopoly authority tried to get rid of all domestic roaming surcharges. They were first announced for 2017, but this hasn't happened.
Finally, in 2018 all intra-Russian roaming surcharges have been coming to an end. All 4 major mobile operators have now ceased all forms of additional charging for the users of their own network travelling between Russian regions. The last elements of on-net roaming fees to be cancelled were additional costs for receiving incoming domestic calls. Beeline was first to remove the incoming call charges on 20 August 2018, followed by Tele2 on 27 August, MTS on 30 August and Megafon on 1 September.
Now all allowances including data packages are valid all over Russia nationwide without additional fees. Some smaller plan still distinguish calls within the region and beyond as well as on-net and off-net calls. The ban on domestic surcharges doesn't apply to the Crimea region (seen in Russia as Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol) as there different providers operate and usage is considered as domestic roaming.
The complicated dialing of phone numbers within Russia is explained in detail in this wiki. To avoid any problems with Russian-style dialling, it's better to dial all numbers in international style with "+" sign and country code.
Censorship[edit | edit source]
Have in mind that internet access to some websites is "controlled" or censored. The official targets are porn, drug abuse, suicide, pedophilia, terrorist and separatist combat organizations and copyright infringement (official black list in Russian only, unofficial Wikipedia about the situation in English), but recently major sites like LinkedIn social network and Zello voice chat have been blocked too by court order after it refused to store data in Russia. About 4000 websites are on Russia's blacklist now and one can argue, if they all fit into the given categories. In 2018 the popular messenger app Telegram was banned by court order for refusing to give Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) encryption keys that would grant access to user messaging data. This Telegram ban was reversed in 2020 and the app is now freely accessible again.
So you might think of installing a VPN app to safeguard anonymity. A new law enforced from November 2017 threatens to ban all VPN and proxy services in order to make sure blacklisted sites can't be accessed. All internet providers are required to block websites that offer any VPN services, while blocking all VPN traffic is technically not feasible.
Nowadays there are no technical obstacles in place to prevent using TOR and VPN protocols implemented. You can use PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SSH and SOCKS technologies, as only few "anonymizer websites" and some popular Russian-owned public VPNs banned. Be aware of this situation and draw your own conclusions.
Buying a SIM card[edit | edit source]
There are still 4 different ways of buying a SIM card in Russia: the official, the semi-official and two unofficial.
- In the official provider stores, you will need to present your passport (containing the Russian visa, if applicable for you, and the migration card with an entry stamp on it) to get a SIM card. For some cases, you can present a certificate of registration at the place of temporary/permanent residence (so called "temporary/permanent propiska") instead of the migration card, but for the majority of visitors a foreign passport (with the Russian visa and the migration card) will work; however, some dealers do not know how to deal with a foreign passport. This way is recommended if you have limited knowledge of Russian and need at least some help with setting up.
- Some electronic or cell phone shops will also set you up skipping some paper work. They might be easier to deal with but charge you a commission of 10-20% for their work. This is especially recommended if you don't speak Russian and need someone who speaks English.
- Another option is to buy a SIM card in a kiosk or at the subway entrance and some railway stations. This is illegal according to Russian law, but it's still feasible. The card usually costs very little like 100..200RUB and some of that sum may appear as credit on the account balance or there is no balance at all and you need to top up first. Without ID or any other documents required, these cards are pre-activated and already registered to someone's (possibly fictional) name. The worst that can happen - the sudden block (ban) and you lose your ₽ 100. Usually it's OK though. There will be no support, either in English or in Russian. You can't replace (restore) such cards in case of loss, damage or ban. You can receive tons of spam messages and advertisement calls.
- You can order a SIM card on eBay (search for one of the operators in the SIM cards section) or at other websites. They may help you with English-speaking support, delivery and registration. But you will pay a surcharge for this service: SIM card with ₽ 100 balance will cost you $9-$11 / €9 or more.
Registration[edit | edit source]
A new law, imposing a ban on SIMs sales without the presentation of an ID, is in effect since June 2018. This means that a communication operator is now obliged to verify the reliability of the personal data of subscribers. If the subscriber doesn't pass the verification, the operator will be forced to suspend the provision of communication services. From experience this means that pre-activated SIM cards, will be usable for 10 days or less before they get de-activated. Also if multiple SIM cards are registered on bought on your name these might also be deemed to be suspicious and might not pass verification. However, there are lots of cards available on the black market till nowadays.
International roaming[edit | edit source]
Be aware that Russia is not part of the EU, nor the EEA, where since 2017 new roaming rules have been enforced. So roaming rates on European SIM cards are not capped or regulated in Russia and can be much higher. Better buy a local SIM card instead.
We now include Russia roaming options for the first time to this wiki as they have improved somewhat and roaming is available by default. All 4 major operators give out a "roam like at home" option for 350-400 ₽ per day. Here data allowances come like in EU roaming from your domestic plan, but still subject to this daily surcharge. Note that all options are capped for the rest of the day and country lists and caps differ between providers. All daily packages are reset at midnight Moscow time regardless where your local plan calls home (UTC+3).
MegaFon (МегаФон)[edit | edit source]
MegaFon (mostly owned by Russian USM Holding and Gazprombank) is one of three biggest Russian mobile operators. Many users consider MegaFon the best network in Russia for its nationwide coverage and high internet speed. However, the actual speed can vary due to overcrowding.
MegaFon was the first that started a 3G (on 2100 and 900 MHz) and 4G/LTE network in Russia. It's the only network that is available in every region of the country except Crimea and Sevastopol (see the coverage map). Their 4G/LTE is mostly on 2600 MHz (B7) and has reached all 83 regions where they operate. 800 MHz (B20) and 1800 MHz (B3) exist too, but have more limited coverage and are unlikely to be seen.
It sees itself as market leader, but its rates can be higher than other operators. The following prices are given for Moscow region and are generally lower in other regions.
General information[edit | edit source]
- You can recharge online by credit card or via PayPal using a 3rd party agency website like utransto, Recharge.com or Ding. Most EU, US and CIS countries cards are accepted. They will charge a high fee for it.
- International roaming is active by default. You can receive incoming SMS, check the account balance for free, and even make and receive voice calls outside Russia.
- To check your account balance, dial *100# and get the balance on the screen for free. To check remaining data and other allowances (in bundles), dial *558#.
- Correct Internet settings (APN, login and password) are not required. It works with any settings.
- MegaFon SIM cards are valid for 90 days since the last chargeable action. After 90 days of no usage, your account balance will be decremented by ₽ 5 on a daily basis until the balance reaches zero, following which the number will be disconnected (terminated). To prevent this, you should make any chargeable action such as an outgoing voice call or send a text message (SMS). Recharging your account won't extend its lifetime! The easiest way to do this from outside Russia is to send a text message (SMS) to yourself.
- The cheapest way is to use MegaFon's VoIP service called eMotion (previously known as MultiFon or "МультиФон"), which is based on SIP protocol. You can use MegaFon's own mobile application eMotion (for iPhone or Android). VoIP calls to MegaFon numbers of the same region as yours are charged from your SIM card's balance at ₽ 0.80 per minute (or part thereof).
How to disable foisted trial, promotion and other useless options[edit | edit source]
To avoid unnecessary charges, please ensure that all foisted paid options turned off. Those options are sometimes enabled by default (depends on region and plan). The best way to disable them is uncheck them all through online account management website (available only in Russian). First of all, you should obtain a password for website login.
Also you can disable the foisted options by dialing a special command from your phone:
- "Who called me?" ("Кто звонил") - a pingback, missed call notice. Dial *581*3# to disable.
- "SMS XXS" - Monthly SMS messages package. Often activates as promotion. Dial *105*1025#, then reply with "2" to disable it and finally reply with "1" to confirm.
- Disable all Internet Packs (if you have any of them) including promotional "Internet XS" (free for 7 days): *236*00*1#. Don't forget to disable Internet Packs before leaving Russia if you want to keep SIM card and loaded money for the next time.
- Kaleidoscope ("Калейдоскоп"). Annoying spam messages. Doesn't cost anything by itself, but if you press "yes" (even by mistake) on them you can end up with spam subscriptions for about ₽ 5/day each, easily tripling your cost. Also it can hang up your modem. It doesn't show up in online account management website. To disable dial *808*0#.
- "Instant credit" ("Кредит доверия"/"Плати когда удобно"). Provides an instant loan. Unsafe as you can end up owing money to provider if you don't settle the debt. To disable, dial *550*1#.
Availability[edit | edit source]
Their SIM cards is available at MegaFon branded offices ("салон") (location map). This way you need an official ID (a passport, sometimes with valid visa or migratory card). But you can also buy a pre-activated SIM card in a kiosk or at the subway entrance. This way you don't need an ID, it costs around 100 ₽ (same price as in the official shop), it's already activated and has some credit.
You can buy a SIM card online with a surcharge with worldwide delivery and English support (look at eBay). With new activations on monthly packages be aware of their strange billing system: You will only pay half of the price plus an transition fee of 100-150 ₽ if you have changed from a different plan. But you will get only half of the allowance for 15 days and pay on the 16th day the other half and get the rest of the allowances.
Switch to ZERO ("Переходи на НОЛЬ") [edit | edit source]
This standard plan is good for calling to other MegaFon users mainly within the same region. You can set this plans by dialing *105*0048#. It's the only plan without a standing fee. A change to this plan is 150 ₽.
Data is very expensive on this plan. You get a maximum of 10 packs of 100 MB per month for 25 ₽ each. The packs are connected automatically and after 1 GB data will be blocked. For more data choose a different plan instead.
"Warm Welcome" ("Тёплый приём")[edit | edit source]
This is a good solution for international calls from Moscow area. It contains 30 GB data, unlimited on-net calls and 480 minutes to other networks and zero-rated messenger use of WhatsApp, Viber, eMotion, imo, Chi Gap, MegaFon Life for 600 ₽ per month. You can switch to this plan from any other by dialing *105*1486#. A tariff change is 100 ₽. When all data are used, internet is blocked, but you can buy an extra package from below. When you connect to this tariff, only half of the monthly price is debited. The other half is charged of the 16th day of your month.
#Hello[edit | edit source]
The #Hello tariff was introduced for the World Cup 2018 and is valid for 14 days. It costs 700 ₽ and includes 30 GB of data, unlimited on-net calls and 30 minutes of calls to national and to some international destinations, 30 SMS and unlimited access to WhatsApp, Viber, eMotion, Facebook Messenger, Facebook and Instagram. Note that you can't activate this plan by switching from other plans, but you need to go to a Megafon store instead.
If you want to keep using the account after 14 days, make sure you put 700 ₽ in your MegaFon account. Then a new period of 14 days starts and all allowances are renewed. You can't switch to other plans. If you need more data, you can buy the extended packages below.
All packages have full 4G/LTE speed, where available. To the plans above, you can add these extra data packs:
|1 GB||240 ₽||Text 'DA' to 05009061|
|3 GB||420 ₽||Text 'DA' to 05009064|
|5 GB||500 ₽||Text 'DA' to 05009062|
|10 GB||700 ₽||Text 'DA' to 05009065|
Dial *558# to check remaining data volume. Extra data is only valid for the remaining time of the base package.
Combo plans[edit | edit source]
MegaFon has changed its portfolio and discontinued the All (Всё) combo plans. Their new monthly combos are shown here:
|Calls (Звонки)||500 ₽||5 GB||600 mins||Messengers||*789*3#|
|Internet (Интернет)||500 ₽||15 GB||500 mins||Messengers||*789*4#|
|Everything (Всё)||600 ₽||30 GB||600 mins||Messengers
|Maximum (Максимум)||1000 ₽||unlimited||1500 mins||*789*1#|
|VIP (VIP)||1800 ₽||unlimited||1800 mins||1 day roaming||*789*6#|
|Premium (Премиум)||3000 ₽||unlimited||5000 mins||2 days roaming||*789*7#|
- Messengers includes unlimited WhatsApp, Viber, eMotion, Facebook Messenger, TamTam, Snapchat.
- Social Media includes free Facebook, Instagram, VK.com (VKontakte), OK.ru (Odnoklassniki)
- Roaming includes one or two days with up to 1 GB roaming data each
All packages include unlimited calls within MegaFon network. All data allowances are valid all over Russia except on the Crimean peninsula and Sevastopol.
Check remaining allowances by *558#, check your current plan by dialing *105*3#. When data is used up, you can activate an extension pack mentioned above at Data feature packages.
Plans for tablets and router[edit | edit source]
Megafon has issued three new plans for data devices. They are called Закачайся! or Download it! They come in three varieties:
- Download it! for a short time (Закачайся! В любой момент): unlimited internet per day at 70 ₽. When you change to this plan, the fee is charged for 3 days with connection for 72 hours and a transition fee of 150 ₽. Later it will be charged for 24 hours each.
- Download it! Easy (Закачайся! Легко): with unlimited internet for a month throttled at max. 4 Mbps for 700 ₽. This fee is again charged in two installments and a change fee of 150 ₽ applies.
- Download it! Full (Закачайся! На полную): unlimited internet for a month at max. speed for 1300 ₽. Same rules apply.
All these plans can only by activated and managed on your personal account or by app.
Roaming[edit | edit source]
Note that Megafon charges extra in the Crimea 2.2 ₽ per MB data. This can be discounted with the Holidays without worry option (Отпуск без забот) for 99 ₽ per day for max. 100 MB.
For so-called popular countries Abkhazia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vatican, Hungary, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Egypt, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia and South Ossetia they give out:
- 1 GB for 14 days: 999 ₽, activation: *105*1495#
- 3 GB for 14 days: 1999 ₽, activation: *105*1495#
- Roam at home for 399 ₽ per day. This means that your allowance comes out of your domestic bundle. This option is enabled automatically and gives up to 1 GB per day when data will be suspended.
More info[edit | edit source]
- APN: internet (it should work with any other APN settings too).
- English-speaking customer service: 0500 (only SMS)
- All given prices are valid for Moscow only, other rates may apply in other regions.
- Basic website in English (Temporarily not working)
- Extended website in Russian only (Moscow and Moscow region)
MTS (МТС)[edit | edit source]
MTS (or МТС in Russian, stands for Mobile TeleSystems, "Мобильные ТелеСистемы" owned by russian Systema group) is the biggest mobile provider in Russia by the number of subscribers. It's available in most regions of the country and gives good speeds at somewhat lower prices than MegaFon (coverage map).
There are some plans and bundles that work even on the Crimean Peninsula on Win Mobile (check special article). The prices below are given for the Moscow region. In other regions they are somewhat lower. MTS is associated with Vodafone, which is also their favourite roaming partner. Nevertheless, MTS roaming prices in foreign countries remain high.
3G is on 2100 MHz and 900 MHz. LTE is on 2600 MHz in the form of both FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE (on bands 7 and 38) and on 800 and 1800 MHz. 4G/LTE coverage has reached all 83 regions where MTS operates in 2016. 55% is on 1800 MHz, the others on 800 and 2600 MHz.
Unlike other operators, MTS blocks incoming calls from many VoIP networks (example in Russian), as they are considered illegal.
Availability[edit | edit source]
SIM cards are available in mini-, micro- and nano-size at their branded stores (shop locations). You can also find them at cellphone shops, dealers, or in other electronics shops. All new SIM cards come in 3-in-1 (triple cut) size now - no need to cut.
MTS SIM card expires after 6 months of inactivity. To extend this term, make a call or send a text message. There is no way to see how many days are remaining. However, it's possible to put your account on hold for 1.10 ₽ per day to suspend all tariff plan charges and keep the SIM active longer. Dial *111*157# and then reply with "1" to activate Voluntary Blocking ("добровольная блокировка"). Unblocking must be done online or at an MTS location, if the SIM is registered in your name.
MTS's website allows online top-up, but it refuses foreign cards from many countries. You can confirm if this is the reason for your rejection if you click "Payment Details" (Детали платежа) and the "Rejection Code" (Код отказа) is 70108. If you don't know anyone in Russia to add money for you, your remaining option is to use a third-party agency such as recharge.com or mobilerecharge.com to top-up online with a commission.
To check your account balance, dial *100# (in Russian) or #100# (in English) for free. To check last 5 charges in 3 days dial *152*1#.
Removing foisted options[edit | edit source]
To avoid unnecessary charges, please ensure that all foisted paid options turned off. MTS often activates them without your permit - as a promotion, to let you try, or something else. Dial the deactivation sequence and press the "call" button. You should receive an SMS for confirmation that service is disabled:
- GOOD'OK: Plays RBT (ring-back tone) music and ads when calling - removal: *111*29#
- You've got a call ("Вам звонили!"): Missed call notice - removal: *111*38#
- MTS Radio: plays audio ads when making outgoing calls - removal: *567*0#
- MTS Ads: SMS newsletter with ads - removal: *111*374#
Prepaid voice plans (Тарифы для звонков)[edit | edit source]
Prepaid plans have no monthly fee. You will pay only for used services (per each minute of call, per each SMS):
- Your country (Твоя Страна): Good plan for calls to another regions of Russia, CIS and some Asian countries (China, Vietnam). Useless for calling to another countries, no discounts for EU, GB, USA. The price for new users is free. If you change to this plan by *111*741# you'll pay 150 ₽
- Red Energy: 1.6 ₽ per min for all calls inside the region. The price for new users is free. If you change to this plan by *111*727# you'll pay 150 ₽
Both of these plans are free as long as you don't place any call or send any SMS. Data is very limited on these options: You can add the Base Tariff (Базовая тарификация интернета) of 20 MB for 20 ₽ by *111*1430# or a BIT option:
- BIT (БИТ): daily 75 MB data for 210 ₽ per month. For additional data 50 MB packs at 8.40 ₽ are added automatically. A day is from midnight in the associated time zone. Activation: *111*252#
- SuperBIT (СуперБИТ): 3 GB data for 365 ₽ per month. For additional data 500 MB packs at 78 ₽ are added automatically. Activation: *111*628#.
Super MTS Plan (Супер МТС):[edit | edit source]
The Super MTS Plan is the best plan for data available based on a daily charge. Main advantage of this plan are unlimited outgoing calls to other MTS numbers of same region per day and most of Moscow landline numbers. National calls are for a surcharge. This plan is free and any change to this plan by *111*8888# for 150 ₽.
Another advantage of this plan is that you can add a All Super+ option (Все Cупер+) for data. This option is automatically activated and gives you up to 3 GB per month on a daily fee of 9.40 ₽. If it's not activated, type *111*259#. Note, that the daily charge is only debited on the days you are actually using data.
When this package is exhausted, you can further add so-called Turbo Buttons (Турбо-кнопка) for more data:
|100 MB||24 hours||31.50 ₽||*111*01*1#|
|500 MB||30 days||99 ₽||*167#|
|1 GB||30 days||185 ₽||*467#|
|2 GB||30 days||315 ₽||*168#|
|5 GB||30 days||470 ₽||*169#|
|20 GB||30 days||935 ₽||*469#|
Note that these Turbo Buttons are more expensive than to buy a larger Smartphone plan from the start.
Activation is by code, app or online. Remaining data volume can be checked by dialing *217#. All packages auto-renew after 30 days. To deactivate type activation code and replace # by *2#.
Smartphone plans (Для смартфона)[edit | edit source]
The MTS Smart series for smartphones offers combo plans with a monthly fee with included calls, SMS and data. Often it's a better choice than adding a data pack to regular voice plan. Big advantage of these plans is their nationwide availability (with roaming in Crimea too).
Monthly fee is deducted from your account balance at the moment of plan activation. The next debit will be exactly 30 days after the date of activation. If your account balance is not sufficient for next monthly fee, all services (voice and data) will be temporarily suspended. To unblock, recharge your account.
These plans are only for smartphones and tablets usage. Using them in modems or mobile routers is prohibited with a warning message displayed. MTS detects most used modems and routers by their IMEI number and blocks the mobile data usage in such devices. However, tethering is not blocked and confirmed as usable on these plans:
|Smart||420 ₽||5 GB||200 mins||550||*111*1024#|
|Our Smart||1000 ₽||unlimited||1500 mins||1500||*111*1025#|
|Smart Top||2025 ₽||unlimited||3000 mins||3000||*111*1026#|
|Ultra||2900 ₽||unlimited||5000 mins||5000||*111*777#|
|X||500 ₽||7 GB +
|200 mins, 200 SMS: included
400 mins, 400 SMS: + 25 ₽
600 mins, 600 SMS: + 75 ₽
|30 GB +
All Smart plans include unlimited calls to other MTS Russia numbers.
(#) = Our Smart enables to share these data with up to 5 numbers.
Unlimited social media in the X and Tariff plans includes unlimited use of VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Twitter, Skype,
Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat, YouTube, МТS Music, Apple Music, Google Music, Zvooq, App Store, Google Play, МТS Connect and some games.
To check the remaining data, SMS and minutes, dial *100*1#. To check balance, dial *100#.
For more data you can better add one of these add-on packages for 30 days:
- 500 MB or 1 GB: 75-100 ₽, activation: *111*936#
- + 3 GB: 200 ₽ - activation: *111*1417*1#
- + 5 GB: 260 ₽ - activation: *111*1517*1#
- + 10 GB: 315 ₽ - activation: *111*1617*1#
- + 20 GB: 365 ₽ - activation: *111*1817*1#
If your balance is not enough for the monthly fee, the value is debited on a daily basis.
Data-only plans (Тарифы для интернета)[edit | edit source]
As MTS detects data devices by their IMEI number, these plans are recommended for tablets and modems:
- Tablet plan (Тариф Для планшета): monthly data plan for tablets with 10 GB nationwide for 550 ₽. Overuse is charged at high 95 ₽ per 500 MB. This makes this plan quite more expensive than smartphone plans.
- Laptop plan (Тариф Для ноутбука): monthly data plan for routers and dongles in mobile computers for 590 ₽ throttled at 10 Mbps. Activation is by *111*1024#. For full speed you can add a boost for 350 ₽ by *111*1637#.
International Roaming[edit | edit source]
Despite the cooperation with Vodafone worldwide, MTS' international roaming rates are not so competitive. They have special roaming packs called BIT Abroad:
- BIT Abroad (БИТ за границей) with 100 MB per day in certain countries: 450 ₽, *111*2222#
- Maxi BIT Abroad (Макси БИТ за границей) with 200 MB per day: 700 ₽, *111*2223#
- Super BIT Abroad (Супер БИТ за границей) with 500 MB - 1 GB per day: 1600 ₽, *111*2224#
For the country list, check the Cyrillic link of the list. Check roaming balances by *111*217#.
They also offer a roam like at home scheme which comes from your domestic allowance. For a surcharge, you can use your plan under the option Abroad (Забугорище). In the "popular countries" Abkhazia, Australia, Armenia, UK, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Egypt, Israel, India, Italy, Spain, Canada, Qatar, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, UAE, Portugal, Romania, USA, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia and South Korea for 390 ₽ per day based on Moscow time (UTC+3) on all Smartphone plans. Data in maximum speed is up to 1 GB before speed drops to 128 Kbps for the rest of the day. Roaming in Cuba is possible too, but limited to 500 MB per day. To activate, type *111*771#.
More info[edit | edit source]
- APN: internet.mts.ru - It works with any settings
- Tethering is officially allowed
- Extended website (in Russian): http://www.mts.ru/
- Basic website (in English): http://www.mtsgsm.com/
Beeline (Билайн)[edit | edit source]
Beeline is the 3rd operator in the country at the moment owned by Veon (formerly Vimpelcom Group). Beeline works in almost all regions of Russia, their 4G coverage is concentrated in populated places, but still limited in rural areas. 4G/LTE coverage is available in all cities in 78 regions, but not in the regions on the Crimean peninsula and Chukotka State. Check the coverage map: there are still some black (or white) spots mainly in the far east (coverage map).
Nowadays, Beeline's 2G network is sensibly degraded. There are some voice calls clarity and data transfer speed issues, related to the signal strength and coverage. However, this operator provides good rates for international calling, especially to CIS countries where Beeline own and partner networks are available.
Prices below are given for Moscow region. For 4G/LTE access, make sure your device supports Beeline's LTE bands (on 2600, 1800 and 800 MHz or B7, B3, B20).
General information[edit | edit source]
All SIM cards are valid for 3 months (89 days) since the date of the last chargeable usage. There is no way to see how many days are remaining. To prevent blocking and save your number, you should make any paid action at least once every 3 months by sending a text message or making an outgoing call.
You can recharge your number with your credit card or via PayPal using 3rd part top-up agencies like this service for a surcharge. Lots of EU, US, UK and CIS countries credit cards are accepted (Visa or MasterCard).
To check your balance, dial *102# for free. The balance is displayed on your phone screen. On some plans the more common combination *100# also works.
Availability[edit | edit source]
Just get any prepaid SIM card (you can buy it at Beeline offices, cellphone shops like "Euroset" ("Евросеть"), Sviaznoy ("Связной"), "Know-How" ("Ноу-Хау") and many others for a start up price of about 100-200 RUR without preloaded credits or with 50-150 ₽ preloaded. Some shops sell cards at higher price (charging you 10-20% more), but they will help you to register your SIM card. Also you can buy it on eBay or try to find in the kiosks or at the streets (dealer stands).
Calling plans[edit | edit source]
You can buy a new SIM card with one of their prepaid plans or change to this plan by dialling a code:
- Bi+: is the new, main Beeline prepaid plan for phones without monthly fee. Nothing included except an initial pre-loaded credits (in most often cases 50..200 ₽). This plan is good only for calling to other Beeline numbers.
- Per second ("Посекундный"): very rare in stock, without monthly fee. This plan is relatively good for calling other local numbers as it offers per second billing. However, its rates aren't very good.
The only package for data on these two plans above is their expensive 1.5 GB pack for the month which will be auto-enabled as soon as you use more than 1 MB. It's for 240 ₽, but debited as 8 ₽ per day.
- Welcome!: Like MegaFon Beeline has issued a special tariff for visitors of the World Cup in 2018 called Welcome! The offer includes unlimited mobile internet at up to 3.6 Mbps and 30 minutes of outgoing calls to Russia and most foreign countries. Incoming calls are free. Subscribers pay 700 ₽ for the first 14 days at activation and additional weeks cost 350 ₽ each. More info about this plan in English can be found here.
Tablet and router plan[edit | edit source]
For tablets, routers and modems they offer a data-focused plan, that includes voice calls and SMS at a higher rate:
- Internet Pro (Интернет PRO) with 60 GB for 30 days and free data 1am to 8am each night for 900 ₽. After activation you will first pay 300 ₽ for 14 days and 20 GB before the monthly cycle starts with 60 GB for 900 ₽ on the 16th day.
Combo plans [edit | edit source]
Like MTS, Beeline has monthly combo plans with included allowances of voice calls, SMS and data valid all over Russia. These plans used to be called Everything (Всё!):
|500 ₽||16.66 ₽||6 GB||600 mins||Messengers|
|700 ₽||23.33 ₽||30 GB||700 mins||Messengers||+2|
|900 ₽||30 ₽||unlimited||1300 mins||Messengers||+2|
|1500 ₽||50 ₽||unlimited||2000 mins||Messengers||+3|
|1800 ₽||60 ₽||15 GB||3000 mins||Messengers
|2500 ₽||83.3 ₽||unlimited||5000 mins||Messengers||+5|
|800 ₽||26.66 ₽||20 GB||500 mins||Films, Music,
|1200 ₽||40 GB||30 GB||1200 mins|
The monthly fee is debited on a daily basis shown in the second column. All on-net calls are included unlimited. Internet is valid all over in Russia except Crimea and Chukotka. Plans renew every 30 days.
Messengers are zero-rated unlimited and include WhatsApp, Viber, ICQ, Skype, Google Hangouts, Snapchat, KaKaoTalk, WeChat (including voice and video calls). Films, Music and the Cloud are special Beeline offers of streaming video and audio and 10 GB space in their cloud. The Roaming plan can be used in Russia and in the "popular countries", see below.
When data volume is used up, the very high "auto-renewal rate" will be charged: 300 MB for 50 ₽. So better choose a package that's large enough.
At the Beeline store be sure to get a prepaid ("предоплата"), not a postpaid ("постоплата") plan that sales agents may try to sell to you. Watch out, as both plan types bear the same name and like in English both words look similar.
Beeline offers an option which allows you to share the included data allowance in combo plans with other Beeline users of same region, not to be mixed up with tethering. So if you have 2 or more Beeline SIM cards from the same region you can share one combo package with other user without paying for 2nd bundle.
Certain limitations apply: You can share your internet allowance only on indicated packages. You can select 2, 3 or 5 additional numbers for sharing your package. Adding each shared user increases the monthly fee to 150 ₽ (5 ₽ daily). To add the user to your "group", it should be the Beeline customer of same region. The other number selected for sharing can only use your data pack, while calling and texting not. It's often better to buy a smaller separate package for other SIM card instead of using this feature.
Roaming[edit | edit source]
Note that internet is not included in the regions of Crimea and Chukotka where high 10.95 ₽ per MB are charged instead.
In more than 100 countries Beeline is offering their "unlimited internet in roaming" service (Безлимитный интернет в роуминге). Connection fee is 350 ₽ and it's only charged on the days you are using it abroad. It includes only 100 MB, but you can add 1 GB for the day for only 99 ₽. This gives 1.1 GB for 449 ₽ within 24 hours. To connect *110*20171#, the extra GB will be connected as soon as the 100 MB are used up. Tethering is prohibited.
The countries included are: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Australia, Austria, Andorra, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, UK, Hungary, Vietnam, Germany, Gibraltar, Greenland, Greece, Hong Kong, Georgia, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, Israel, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Cambodia, Canada, Qatar, Kenya, Cyprus, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Isle of Man, UAE, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Thailand, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Finland, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Rep., Chile, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia, Ukraine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Korea, Japan.
More info[edit | edit source]
- APN: internet.beeline.ru
- Password and username: beeline
- English-speaking customer service: 0511
- Basic website in English
- Extended website in Russian
Tele2 (by Rostelecom)(Теле2, Ростелеком)[edit | edit source]
In 2014 Swedish Tele2 group ceased all operations in Russia and sold their brand and network to state-owned Rostelecom, that used to be the 4th largest provider in the country. It operates in 67 of 85 regions of Russia (written in Latin letters here). So their coverage is still very patchy (coverage map) as they don't have licenses for some areas.
Tele2 Russia commercially launched LTE on 1800 MHz (B3) in 2014 and rollouts in most major cities began throughout 2015. Further LTE networks have been launched on B7 (2600 MHz) and B20 (800 MHz), with smaller LTE-TDD deployments over B40 (2300 MHz) primarily in Krasnodar and Sochi districts. The company commercially launched B31 (450 MHz) LTE under the SkyLink banner in May 2016, initially in regional areas and gradually expanding to cover St. Petersburg and Moscow within the same year.
There is a notable "black spot" for 2G in the European part of Russia in Moscow. Tele2 started to work in Moscow in October 2015. They decided to build only a 3G/4G network here and there is no roaming on other 2G networks and no future plans for 2G coverage (GSM 900/1800) within Moscow area. With a 90% coverage, there are still some coverage gaps in Moscow.
If you try to use a Tele2 SIM card from another region in Moscow now, it will go to roaming, registering in 3G/4G network of Tele2 or in 2G with other networks, but for Moscow regional users only native Tele2 3G/4G network is available.
Tele2's plans are considered the best option for international roaming now. Their country list is bigger than that of other providers with prices somewhat lower.
General information[edit | edit source]
All SIM cards are valid for 4 months (120 days) since the date of last usage (making a paid call or sending a text message). There is no way to see how many days remaining. To prevent blocking and save your number, you should make any paid action at least once in 4 months - write a text message or make an outgoing call. Writing a text to yourself is the easiest way.
To check the account balance, dial *105# and press "call" button - you will see the actual balance on the screen. To recharge online, try this website. Not all credit cards accepted.
Availability[edit | edit source]
There are some small Tele2 branded retail shops. You can buy Tele2 SIM cards in their retail stores, at the distribution points in some malls and at the railway stations, or using their online store with free delivery to a local address. You can arrange a pick up point or use the free delivery service within the city (Moscow and St. Petersburg) in a max. of 2 days. Independent dealers resell their SIM cards in electronic or cell phone shops for a small surcharge. Start-up price is 100-500 ₽ depending on number and start-up plan.
In 2019 Tele2 started as first operator to sell eSIMs for their plans. Compatible phones can load one of their plans below on their profile. You should better go to a Tele2 store and speak good Russian language, if you are not familiar with the process.
Prepaid plans[edit | edit source]
Tele2 recently updated all their prepaid plans. The main advantage of the new plans is a roll-over of unused data and voice allowances to the next month. You can switch between plans any time. Switching is free when more than 30 days have passed since your last switch. Otherwise it's up to 150 ₽.
Given below are the 2020 prepaid combo plans for the Moscow region. All included allowances are valid all over Russia (or rather all regions where Tele2's own network is available):
|300 ₽ (as
|250 ₽||4 GB||200 mins
|400 ₽||15 GB||500 mins
|My Online +
Мой онлайн +
|700 ₽||30 GB||800 mins
|500 ₽||40 GB||500 mins
|600 ₽||40 GB||600 mins
|750 ₽||unlimited||500 mins
|1800 ₽||unlimited||2000 mins
On-net calls within Tele2 network are included unlimited. After using the included data allowance, speed will be throttled to 64 kbps. All packages auto-renew, if not disabled before. All unused allowances will be rolled over to the next month, if you renew your plan.
Check consumption of the packages by *155*0#. Social media includes zero-rated access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, TamTam, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, except for voice and video calls using messengers. In the Premium plan roaming is included, see below. For more data you can add 1 GB or 3 GB mentioned in the Classic plan below.
Classic plan[edit | edit source]
If you don't want to use combo plans shown above, you can add a special internet package to the Classic plan. The Classic tariff charges 15 ₽ per 10 MB by default.
You can add these two packages for 30 days to the Classic plan:
- 1 GB: 120 ₽, activation: *155*702*1#, deactivation: *155*702*0#
- 3 GB: 200 ₽, activation: *155*703*1#, deactivation: *155*703*1#
Speed will be throttled to 64 Kbps when reached quota. All plans auto-renew after 30 days when not stopped.
Data feature packages[edit | edit source]
They offer two daily options:
- Internet from Phone ("Интернет с телефона"):
- 100 MB per day for 6 ₽ daily fee
Activation is by code *116*04*1# and deactivation by *116*04*0#. To check how much of your data pack remains available, dial *116*04#
- Network day ("День в сети"):
- 250 MB per day for 20 ₽ daily fee.
After using the amount included, the speed will be limited to 64 kbps. For activation: dial *155*707*1#, for deactivation dial *155*707*0#. To check how much MB of data pack remains available, dial *155*707#. First activation is free, all subsequent activations are for 20 ₽.
You can add another 100 MB for 15 ₽ by *155*281# or 500 MB for 50 ₽ by *155*171# valid until the end of the day to both plans. All data packs are valid in all Tele2 regions.
Internet plans for tablets and modems[edit | edit source]
Their plan for tablets and modems is called Internet for devices (Интернет для устройств) without a base fee. These three options for 30 days can be added:
|15 GB||400 ₽||*155*704*1#||*155*704*0#|
|25 GB||600 ₽||*155*691#||*155*690#|
|40 GB||900 ₽||*155*701#||*155*700#|
After using the included volume, speed will be throttled to 64 kbps. All packages auto-renew if not disabled after 30 days. On all packages unused data rolls over to the next month, if a new package is bought. Unlimited nighttime use is valid midnight-7am and not debited from the general data quota.
Roaming[edit | edit source]
Internet data is not included in the Crimea where 3 ₽ per MB are charged instead.
For international roaming Tele2's plans are seen as the most favourable in Russia right now. Their roaming plan is called "unlimited internet abroad" (Безлимитный интернет за границей). A daily fee of 350 ₽ is charged only on the days that you use data:
- in Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia and Qatar: 1 GB per day
- in Austria, Australia, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, Kuwait, Singapore, USA, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland and Croatia: 400 MB per day
- in most other countries of the world: 200 MB per day
- in Afghanistan, Cuba, the UAE and Peru: 100 MB per day
For overuse, internet is not cut off, but throttled to 128 kbps. To connect *143*71#, to disable *143*70#, to check roaming balance *143*72# and to reconnect before the day is over *143*73# for another 350 ₽. A day is according to Moscow time (UTC+3). The Premium plan for 1800 ₽ (see above) already includes this roaming option for a month.
More info[edit | edit source]
- APN: internet.tele2.ru
- Website for Moscow: https://msk.tele2.ru/ change on top right for other regions
- Support phone +7(495)979-76-11 for Moscow
Yota (Йота)[edit | edit source]
Before 2014 Yota provided "mobile broadband" Internet access via its own WiMAX and LTE modems and routers. After being acquired by MegaFon it was relaunched as a new universal mobile operator providing voice calls on GSM 900 and 1800 MHz band and LTE 4G data on 2600 MHz (band 7). As of 2016 it covers major cities in 76 regions of Russia: coverage map
Yota was the first operator in Russia providing fixed prices across all regions. But still they charge different prices depending where you buy their SIM card. The operator is targeting people living in urban cities using smartphones, tablets or modems.
Availability[edit | edit source]
Their SIM card is available for purchase online , via mobile application (iOS, Android) or at several offline sales points. The SIM card is provided for free, without any credits loaded. All three sizes are available. In Moscow and St. Petersburg the card can be delivered to your address for free. You will need a valid local or international passport or any other personal ID to obtain the card. Activation is automatic, you should insert the card and turn on the mobile data. Balance can be topped up by credit card through their mobile app or on the website.
For smartphones [edit | edit source]
They are prepaid plans with a monthly fee and an included combo pack with unlimited data for some apps you choose. It's no longer possible to get an unlimited data package, though old SIM cards still work. The exact price depends on the region where the card is purchased.
For Moscow they sell free customizable plans with data and voice calls. Some examples
- 1 GB: 220.34 ₽
- 5 GB: 263.68 ₽
- 10 GB: 285.06 ₽
- 20 GB: 308.29 ₽
- 30 GB: 322.78 ₽
- 50 GB: 458.75 ₽
- unlimited data: 560 ₽
For voice calls all over in Russia you can add 100 mins intervals for around 82 ₽. For social media unlimited apps can be added: TVKontakte, Instagram, Facebook, Odnoklassniki, Twitter, TikTok for 30 ₽ each; Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram for 20 ₽ each, YouTube and Twitch for 75 ₽, video calling for 40 ₽ and unlimited SMS for 50 ₽.
Here are three examples of combo packages for 30 days:
|More Internet||unlimited||101 mins||641.39 ₽|
|More Minutes||9 GB||203 mins||414.72 ₽|
|50 GB||1111 mins||819.08 ₽|
Every possible combination can be purchased through their app and changed for the next month according to your expected use. Their app allows to see remaining minutes, account balance, top-up and chat with support (in Russian only).
What they hide in their T&Cs: If the SIM-card is used other than in a smartphone (like in a router, modem or tablet), the speed will be throttled to 64 Kbps. If your smartphone is used as a hotspot for tethering, the speed is limited to 128 Kbps, this limitation can be removed for 2 hours at 90 ₽ or for 24 hours at 190 ₽. When you use file-sharing networks, speed is limited to 32 Kbps;
For tablets[edit | edit source]
They offer special SIM cards for tablets with full 4G/LTE speed. These plans are offered for Moscow:
- 1 GB: 250 ₽
- 7 GB: 400 ₽
- 15 GB: 450 ₽
- unlimited: 500 ₽
Unlimited apps for a surcharge: VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, YouTube: + 5 ₽ each.
If you use it in an modem, speed will be throttled to 64 Kbps and for torrents to 32 Kbps.
For modems and routers[edit | edit source]
Yota also offers special plan for using with modem or router which has fully unlimited data (*with mild fair use policy with throttling the speed when using high-load and P2P applications). This is LTE-only solution (4G), without voice capabilities, only data. There is no mobile phone number assigned to this subscription.
You should buy their hardware (modem or router) if you want to subscribe. USB modem has built-in USIM card, so the modem is locked to your subscription. You can't use it with another operator.
Routers has detachable USIM card which is different from their common voice-capable smartphone SIM card. You can purchase "modem only" USIM card without their device, but you can't use their "modem card" in a smartphone or in your tablet. You can try to use it in your 4G router, but this is not guaranteed. Yota recommends using their own equipment for this subscription. It can check the device ID and block unknown devices from accessing the radio network. These prices are valid for Moscow:
- for 24 hours @ max speed: 75 ₽
- for 72 hours @ max speed: 150 ₽
- for 30 days:
- @ 64 kbps: free
- @ 10 Mbps: 600 ₽
- @ 20 Mbps: 900 ₽
- @ 30 Mbps: 1200 ₽
- @ max. speed: 1500 ₽
Tethering[edit | edit source]
Another SIM card limitation is that Yota prohibits tethering. If you switch on tethering, the speed drops to 128 kbps. The operator determines that tethering is on by measuring the TTL value, on source device it's usually 64, on destination it's 63.
The workaround to use tethering is to decrement default TTL on source device, e.g. for Android 4.4+: "sysctl -w /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_default_ttl=63".
International roaming[edit | edit source]
While Yota gives good prices in Russia, it's the most restrictive and expensive provider abroad. In most foreign countries internet is charged at 1.6 ₽ per MB each day up to 250 MB (for 400 ₽). Then another 250 MB are given for free. Beyond 500 MB per day internet is blocked. Better choose a different operator to roam outside Russia.
More info[edit | edit source]
- APN: internet.yota
- Support is provided in Russian and maybe English via their website, mobile application, by texting free SMS to 0999, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through social media: Twitter, Facebook, VK
- Website in Russian: http://www.yota.ru
MVNOs of banks[edit | edit source]
Since 2017 many new MVNOs started in Russia mostly on the Tele2 network. Often they are not as accessible to foreigners as the major 4 or 5 network providers. On the forefront of this development are bank houses in the country and these are the most accessible of all. But many bonus schemes only make sense, if you are customer of this bank. Banks regard their mobile businesses as a tool to attract costumers to their financial products. So the following three mobile branches of banks are briefly shown as examples of Russia's growing MVNO market. There are many others. For the short-time visitor they are not recommended so far.
Tinkoff Mobile (Тинькофф Мобайла)[edit | edit source]
Tinkoff Mobile started as one of the first MVNOs 2017 by Tinkoff Bank, one of the big direct banks in Russia. They are operating on Tele2 network (see above for details). SIM cards are sold all over Russia as the company has opened outlets in big malls (locator, change to Точки продаж). Since 2020 they also offer eSIMs, but so far available for Tinkoff cardholders only.
To obtain a SIM card you need to have your passport AND a residence, temporary residence permit or migration card plus visa. You can have it delivered for free, but better go to their points of sale where you can show the required documents.
Their plans are freely customizable through their own app and are valid for 30 days:
- 2 GB: 259 ₽
- 5 GB: 329 ₽
- 10 GB: 449 ₽
- 20 GB: 509 ₽
- unlimited data: 1059 ₽
You can also add 200, 400, 600, 1200 or unlimited minutes for national calls, the usual unlimited messengers for 49 ₽ or social media for 59 ₽, video calls for 159 ₽, music streaming for 59 ₽, video streaming for 159 ₽ or SMS for 49 ₽.
- APN: m.tinkoff
- Website in Russian: https://www.tinkoff.ru/mobile-operator/
SberMobile (СберМобайл)[edit | edit source]
SberMobile by Sberbank, started in 2018 on the Tele2 network (see above) operating in 50 regions (except Crimea). You will find this MVNO widely available in Moscow in their bank offices (locator), in many Letna supermarkets or onflight on airlines (like Aeroflot, Rossiya, Yakutia, Utair, Aurora, RusLine Royal Flight). Registration is possible for foreigners with their passport through the ID Abonent app.
Like Tinkoff Sbermobile offers freely customizable plans, that can be selected and changed through their app:
- 3 GB: 200 ₽
- 7 GB: 270 ₽
- 15 GB: 370 ₽
- 20 GB: 430 ₽
- 30 GB: 600 ₽
These rates include already the minimum of 150 national minutes. You can also add 300, 600 or 1500 minutes for a surcharge. Other options are unlimited social media and messengers for 69 ₽ on all plans 400+ ₽, unlimited music streaming for 99 ₽ on all plans 500+ ₽ and unlimited video streaming for 199 ₽ on all plans 800+ ₽.
- APN: Sbermobile
- Website in Russian: https://sbermobile.ru/
VTB Mobile (ВТБ Мобайл)[edit | edit source]
VTB Mobile was the latest entrant of major banks on Tele2 network in 2019. They are so far only available in the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions so far (locator), but with national coverage of Tele2 except in Crimea.
Their plans are similar to the other two banks and freely adjustable. Here some examples for 30 days:
- 3 GB, 200 national mins, 50 SMS: 200 ₽
- 15 GB, 500 national mins, 50 SMS: 350 ₽
- 30 GB, 1000 national mins, 50 SMS, social apps, messengers, video and audio streaming: 800 ₽.
Many other options can be mixed.
- APN: vtb
- Website in Russian: https://vtbmobile.ru/
iTourer (WiFiinRussia) [edit | edit source]
As an alternative to buying local SIM cards, it's possible to rent on a daily basis portable WiFi hotspots which provide unlimited speed and data internet access via 4G/LTE using the network of MegaFon.
You can rent their Huawei pocket WiFi called iTourer online on their website available in English. Rent will cost you US$6 per day as fixed price and you can share up to 10 devices through the WiFi with a battery lifetime of 6-8 hours. Data is unlimited in 4G/LTE. You need to pay online by credit card (Mastercard or Visa) or in cash at the airport pick-up. A refundable deposit of 3000 ₽ (US$45) is charged and given back when you return the device undamaged.
They will deliver the device to an airport for free or to your hotel or apartment in Moscow for US$5. Official registration of a subscriber is performed in accordance with Russian legislation. After use you need to return the device and SIM card in a provided envelope or give it back at the airport desk.
- more information in English: https://wifiinrussia.com/