Mobile communication in large cities of Russia is no worse than in any other city of the world. Guests from other countries can use their SIM cards, however calls, messages and Internet traffic are rated by mobile network operators according to roaming prices which can be ten times higher than in the home regions of tourists. Therefore, we strongly recommend our readers to buy a SIM card of a local operator on arrival to Russia.
List of mobile network operators of Russia
In Russia there are 8 mobile network operators but only four of them are of federal level which have representative offices in most regions of the country. We also recommend you to use services of this “Big Four”.
The optimum choice of mobile operator and tariff depends on a few factors. First, you should know which cities to visit during the World Cup. The matter is that tariffs and service packages differ depending on the region of Russia. Besides, in the country there is internal roaming. For example, if you buy a SIM card in Moscow and connect no additional options, you have to pay several times more for traffic and calls in Saint Petersburg, Kazan or Sochi. Secondly, the choice of tariff depends on the client`s needs. There are special options for international calls, the mobile Internet or travelling across Russia.
The largest operator in Russia is the MTS. Its official site is www.mts.ru. The optimum tariff for guests of the World Cup and the Confederations Cup is Smart+. This tariff includes the unlimited Internet, 350 minutes of calls and 350 SMS a week. Subscriber fee makes about 4 euros a week. If you call home don't forget to connect option “Favorable Calls to Other Countries”.
MegaFon takes the second place by number of subscribers in Russia. Its website is www.megafon.ru. The optimum tariff “All Inclusive” covers 10 GB of traffic and unlimited calls around Russia. The tariff is about 35 euro a month. The option for cheap calls to other countries is called “Call to Other Countries”.
The third mobile operator in Russia is Beeline. Its website is http://www.beeline.ru. The tariff covering the unlimited Internet and calls around Russia is “All!”. The tariff depends on the volume of the Internet traffic included and makes about 30-40 euro a month. The option for inexpensive international calls is “Welcome to Visit”.
The fourth federal mobile operator is TELE2. TELE2 positions itself as a discounter pricing much lower than competitors. However, TELE2 became the last large company in Russia introduced services of the high-speed Internet. Therefore, it is quite possible that signal quality can be perfect not always. The official site of TELE2 is www.tele2.ru. The interesting tariff of TELE2 is “Sverkhchorny” covering 1,000 minutes of calls and SMS, and also 8 GB of the Internet traffic. The monthly fee makes about 10 euro.
Where to buy a SIM card
You can buy a SIM card at any mobile phone outlet in each host city of the World Cup. To make a purchase you need your passport.
In the cities hosting the World Cup and Confederations Cup you can use free Wi-Fi to access the Internet. First of all, free Wi-Fi is available in all hotels where guests of competitions will stay. Besides, the Internet access will be at all stadiums and in special fan zones opened in each host city of the championship.
Wi-Fi is available in most cafes and restaurants, big parks and recreation areas. Over last years, in Russia almost all public transport, including metro, is being actively equipped with free Wi-Fi. Critical point: according to the current legislation, in the territory of Russia you have to be registered to use public Wi-Fi network. For this purpose when connecting to the network you have to enter your mobile phone number and to confirm the network registration with the codeby SMS.
Important: blocking of bookmaker websites in Russia
If desired to place stakes on your favorite team in the territory of Russia you can have problems. The matter is that in the territory of Russia only those bookmaker offices can work which have special license. Famous Europe bookmakers such as Wiiliam Hill and bwin have no such license, therefore, their websites are blocked. When in Russia during the World Cup and Confederations Cup you want to place bets, please register in a legal bookmaker office.
Another variant is to place stakes on computer which is physically located outside Russia. You can entrust this procedure to your friends or operate your remote home computer through TeamViewer software.