If you are traveling to Russia your mobile operator will probably charge you exorbitant roaming fees. For example, scrolling a feed on Instagram for a minute uses about 15 Mb and even if you have a so-called "low rate" of 0.25c/Mb you already would pay about $4 for that. If you get to hotel and decide to make a phone call home they might charge you a whopping $2 per minute. The best way to avoid that is to get a SIM card with low roaming charges and add an international phonecard, so you can call to Russia and abroad much cheaper.
International Roaming SIM Cards for Russia
The best local SIM card to use in Russia is from Megafon (good coverage, worse quality, cheaper) or MTS (better coverage, better quality, more expensive) operators as they offer good data bundles (from $10 for 10 Gigs) but you need a passport to buy and activate the SIM (it's possible to do it at the airport train express terminal when you arrive). The SIM card itself will cost you another $5 and you would need to ask the seller to activate the data package and also any additional packages (for example, to enable you to call abroad for less money). If you get Megafon, ask for their tarif plan "Vokrug Sveta" (Вокруг Света – "around the world") and ask the seller to activate the internet M option (16 gigs) and a calling abroad option (hopefully they will speak English). You can top it up later at any shop or ATM using your credit card.
Another option is to have an international roaming SIM card
delivered to you before you travel to Russia, like this you can use it later anywhere in the world. We partnered with OneWorldSim
to offer you great rates for data use and phone calls in Russia: for example, all the incoming calls are free, calls to another OneWorldSim are $0.25 per minute, calls to Russia and other countries are $0.50 per minute. Of course, you can also use your data connection for phone calls and if you get a data bundle, you'd pay nothing for your phonecalls. You can check the prices for international SIM card with low roaming charges here
, we recommend you to get their Plus card with a Giga Data Package for $29.95, which includes 5 Gigabytes at 4G speeds in Russia, China and other countries.
Prepaid International Calling Cards
Calling abroad to/from Russia can be expensive. Sure, you can use Skype but their rates are relatively high and the connection quality is not so good. Most popular messengers like Whatsapp and Telegram can work well, but you need to make sure there's internet, which is not always the case. That's why getting a phone card that has access numbers both in the country you're traveling from and in Russia can be a good long-term solution. You can compare different phonecards for calling to Russia on our website
or check out the rates below to see what fits you best:
Some of the advantages:
• Lower Prices (from 1c/min)
• Local & Mobile Access Numbers in the US, Russia, and Europe
• Set Up a Direct Number in the US to forward anywhere else (free!)
• Save on roaming charges: trigger an incoming call with an SMS
• Web originated call – connect any two numbers in the world through your web browser!
• Online control panel to track your calls and balance
• All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted
• Connect any two phones using your iPhone or PDA