Mobile Telephones in Russia
Information on mobile telephone services in Russia...
Mobile services in Russia are available on a contract with various packages on offer or as pay-as-you-go.
There are three main mobile telephone service providers, all offering similar packages at comparable rates, often including texts and Internet usage. MTS and MegaFon have the most English on their websites, but assistance from a Russian speaker would be advisable to get the most suitable package from any network.
The price of calls depends on where they are from and to. Calls within a city or an area have standard charges, while calls between cities or areas are more expensive. Standards charges include all outgoing calls and text messages, additional services include voice mail, number identification and call diverting.
For a comparison website that shows the packages available from all three main providers: Click here (in Russian). This site allows information to be selected for an estimated number of local calls to be made per month, and their duration, then choosing the number of SMS messages required and approximate Internet usage per month, and then shows all the relevant packages from all operators. As it is in Russian only, assistance from a Russian speaker is essential.
To sign up for pay-as-you-go, all that is required is to apply for a SIM card either directly from stores of the various service providers or online. A contract needs to be signed and submitted with a passport and the certificate of registration in Russia.
Top-up cards are available at special ATM machines for mobile telephones throughout cities, or at stores of the mobile operators. Other payment methods available include credit card over the Internet or by telephone. When the balance drops to zero, the number is blocked until it is topped up again.
Main Mobile Providers:
- MTS (MTC)
Tel: (495) 766 0166 (contact centre, for English speakers)
Tel: 800 250 0890 (from landlines and other mobile networks; free call)
Tel: 0890 (from mobile)
Store locator for Moscow: Click here (in Russian)
For details of packages and prices: Click here
Online ordering for MTS SIM card: Click here (in Russian)
- MegaFon (???????)
Tel: (495) 507 7777
Tel: 800 333 0500 (contact centre; free call)
Tel: 0500 (from mobile)
At: ul. Vyatka 27 42, Moscow, 127015 (Moscow main branch)
Store locator: For locations of stores around Russia: Click here and choose an area to search in just to the right of the MegaFon logo in the top left of the page (Russian only)
For MegaFon prices and packages: Click here (English) and here (Russian)
- BeeLine (??????)
Tel: (495) 974 8888 (from landlines)
Tel: 0611 (from mobiles)
At: ul. Avtozavodskaya 13/1, Moscow. 115280
Store locator: Click here (in Russian)
For information on packages and prices: Click here (in Russian)
Lost Mobile Telephones
If a mobile telephone is lost or stolen, the first thing to do is to contact the service provider and block the SIM card. After that, the police should be contacted to report the mobile lost or stolen. For this, the police will need to know the IMEI – the unique identification number of the phone. Replacement of a lost or stolen SIM card is free and can be ordered at any provider’s store.