If you’re traveling to Russia and want to stay connected to the Internet to share your journey on Instagram, keep in touch with your loved ones on WhatsApp or use Google Maps, here are your options.
You have several options to have internet in Russia, but some of them (like roaming) are very expensive while other free ones (like Wifi) can waste your time.
I’m telling you, the best alternative is to buy a SIM card for Russia; both because it’s much cheaper than paying for roaming and because it’s so easy to use.
But let’s look at all the options, let’s get started!
HOW MUCH DATA DO I NEED TO USE THE INTERNET IN RUSSIA?
Before discussing the options to connect to the Internet in Russia, it is important that you know more or less what you can spend with one MB. Keep in mind that some options that offer you Internet in Russia charge you by MB or GB (1,000 MB).
With one MB of data, you can:
- Send 10 emails of pure text.
- Call via Skype for one minute.
- Make a 6 second video call.
- Listen to 40 seconds of music.
- Visit a website.
- Use GPS over a 20km radius.
ALTERNATIVES TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET IN RUSSIA
1. ROAMING IN RUSSIA
This is the service that companies like Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and more offer you to connect to the Internet, make calls or send SMS in Russia. Using your operator’s roaming in Russia is very expensive, they can charge you for one MB of consumption from 6 to 12 euros – an outrage!
If you are from Vodafone, for example; you will pay at least 15 euros a day (a week is over 100 euros). With Orange the cheapest is 7 euros per 100MB (70 euros a GB) and Movistar 12.10 euros per MB (12,100 euros a GB, almost nothing).
MINIMUM ROAMING PRICES IN RUSSIA
|Operator||Minimum price||Maximum price|
|Movistar||12 euros / MB||idem|
|Vodafone||15 euros / día||6 euros / MB|
|Orange||7 euros / 100MB||12,10 euros / MB|
If you’re afraid that you’re going to consume too much on your roaming trip and get a big bill, then I advise you to turn off your roaming as soon as you get on the plane. Please note that this is very important because sometimes it is so easy to activate that it is done automatically and then you get headaches.
- Easy to activate. As we mentioned before in some cases you will not even have to do it, there are contracts that stipulate to activate roaming automatically as soon as you arrive in the destination country.
- Very expensive. The most expensive option.
- It offers you little data. Considering that approximately one MB is spent on the Internet every minute. If we calculate the maximum consumption in MB, it is almost impossible to believe that only 50 to 100 MB per day is enough to surf the Internet.
2. SIM CARD
A. BUY THE SIM IN YOUR COUNTRY: HOLAFLY
SIM cards for Russia are much more affordable than roaming. Cards like Holafly’s cost you 25 euros with unlimited data for 10 days at 4G speed, use the Beeline network, you can keep your whatsApp number, it’s sent to your home free of charge and you’ve got internet on the ground.
- It’s affordable, much more than roaming, as well as other (MiFi) options with the same benefits – connection quality, safe surfing.
- Easy to use. both installation and use are very easy, and you don’t need any additional devices, just your mobile.
- Support: chat 24 hours a day.
- They can get lost. Since the SIM card is a small card, you may lose it if you remove it from your device, call it mobile or tablet.
For being a traveler’s reader you can buy the card with a 5% discount:
B. BUY THE SIM ON ARRIVAL IN RUSSIA
If you want to save some euros at the cost of having to look for the SIM on your arrival, you may be interested in finding a shop or a stall that sells them in Russia.
This option is the one of a lifetime and has the disadvantage that you have to invest time of your trip and you won’t have internet as soon as you land, but it is a perfectly valid alternative.
You can buy them from the following operators: Megafon, MTC or FLEXIROAM. For more information you can read our article: Which data SIM card to buy to travel to Russia here we tell you all the options of SIM cards for Russia.
3. PORTABLE MODEM
Also called MiFi, portable modems help you connect to a Wifi signal abroad and stay connected while you’re on the move. Because the gadget will be in your suitcase, pocket or kangaroo. Being cheaper than roaming and with a better connection than Wifi free, a portable modem will serve you if you do not worry about the costs.
SOME OPTIONS OF PORTABLE MODEM FOR RUSSIA
- Megafon: it offers you connection in 3G and 4G and a hardware, equipment, of TP-Link. Smaller than a home router, this ‘device’ comes with a USB cable, battery, manual, power adapter and disk.
- MTC: offers you routers from 4 GB per day for two weeks and at a speed of 150 Mbps, its cost is around 60 euros. Some come in small, mobile-like presentations, and medium, home-like routers.
- DHGate.com: you can find free MiFis (not subject to an operator but offered independently) from 40 to 50 euros for the purchase of the equipment that will connect you at 4G speed. You can receive it for free but its delivery period is extended to almost two months.
- Yota: offers you a device and a card that will connect you at 4G speed. Unlike other portable modems, this one requires a USB port, such as a laptop or tablet, as it is similar to a pendrive.
- Connects multiple devices to the Internet. SIM cards do it too, but some MiFis connect you to more. Be careful not to connect too many devices, just the ones you are using.
- It’s not that expensive. Less than roaming – but more than the SIM card, a computer bought from MiFi can cost you 100 to 200 euros; but it’s for your whole life.
- Various rates. One of the main problems with the MiFi is the amount of fees you might pay, especially if you rent the equipment. You will have to pay everything from daily equipment rental, SIM card, daily Internet service and even possible penalties.
- Awkward procedure. If you rent it, you must pick it up and take care of the package (envelope) with which you will return it. Some companies will even ask you to send it to the post office.
- All together. If you want to connect several devices you will have to go all together always. This is not advisable because you will always be dependent on one device and your connection will often be slow.
4. FREE WIFI IN RUSSIA
Wifi can be found in cybercafes, for example, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, there you can connect to good quality Internet. Only paying a convenient fee, you can access this and other benefits such as printing, scanning, among others.
In hotels you will also be able to access the Internet, but some of them usually charge you and their rate is not entirely economic. You can also access the Internet at airports, stations, libraries, cinemas, cafes and more.
- It’s free. One of its main advantages is that it is the only option that will not charge you a single euro to connect to the Internet.
- You’ll find it everywhere. From a cafe, to a square, to a library, to the airport, you’ll find free Internet. Just be careful when accessing your sensitive information.
- It’s unsafe and you can get hacked. Being an open network for the general public, it is possible that one of them may seek to steal sensitive and private information.
- Some people ask you to buy a product. Before they give you the password, because some free Internet points of the establishments have i; but they will ask you to buy a coffee, a sandwich or a bottle of water first.
WHERE TO FIND WIFI FREE IN MOSCOW?
- By public transport: you can access the MT_FREE network by bus, train, metro, subway and the MCR, Moscow Central Ring (railway line around Moscow). Just register, confirm your identity and you’re on your way.
- Parks and streets: you will find more than a thousand free Wifi points in the streets and on two bridges, the Bolshoi Kamennyi and the Bolshoi Moskvoretsk. On this website you will find the points with free Wifi in Moscow, click on the Google translator if you do not know Russian.
- Cafes and restaurants: you only need a password and it is possible that you only need to buy a bottle of water, a coffee or a sandwich. So that some collaborator of the establishment gives you the password.
WHAT IS THE BEST OPTION TO HAVE INTERNET IN RUSSIA?
Without a doubt, a SIM card for Russia, which costs you less than a WiFi Pocket, MiFi, and much less than roaming. While one imposes several fees, the other charges you a lot of money for a few MB. An ideal alternative should not cost you so much and should offer you all the benefits that really matter: Security, speed, and privacy.
TIPS FOR CONNECTING TO THE INTERNET IN RUSSIA
- Use Yandex, the Russian Google. It is the leader in search engines in Russia, do not underestimate it because it is as important as Google, so you have one more option to make your searches.
- Consider the Vkontakte, the Russian Facebook. You can set it up and take advantage of this network to expand your contacts in that country, this is very convenient if you plan to stay a good time traveling, studying or working there.
- Use a VPN for protection. If your option is not to buy a SIM card and you prefer a free connection, with this digital tool you can surf without fear of having your information stolen or your privacy violated. Especially if you use networks that do not ensure your privacy or that may be exposed like free Wifi. Some VPNs do not charge you for their use on a monthly basis; but others do, and this depends on the quality of service.
Find out more travel tips to Russia on accommodation, documentation and requirements, currency exchange, travel insurance and more.