If you travel to Russia and don’t want to run out of internet, the smartest thing to do is to buy a local SIM card for Russia, either from your country (recommended option) or when you get there. In this article we tell you which data SIM card to buy to have internet in Russia with its advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s get started!
WHY BUY A DATA SIM CARD FOR RUSSIA?
Roaming in Russia can be very expensive, regardless of the operator and the rate you have contracted. Most likely you will come back with a very high roaming bill for normal internet use.
If you are from Vodafone, for example, you will pay at least 15 euros a day (a week is more than 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 / day||6 euros / MB|
|Orange||7 euros / 100MB||12,10 euros / MB|
Now that we know why you need a SIM card in Russia, let’s look at the different options that exist. The goal is to avoid the dreaded return trip bill.
WHAT SIM CARD OPTIONS DO I HAVE FOR RUSSIA?
1. BUY YOUR RUSSIA SIM IN YOUR COUNTRY
This is probably the most comfortable option, because if you buy the SIM from your country you take it with you before you leave on your trip and you insert it as soon as you land, so you have internet from the first moment.
FROM YOUR COUNTRY: HOLAFLY RUSSIA
It has an excellent card at a good price. It is thanks to the Beeline network that you can surf the Internet for 10 days totally UNLIMITED. Easy to use, you can chat and call your contacts because you can keep your WhastApp number.
In summary, if you buy a SIM card for Russia for 10 days unlimited data, for 23.75 euros (with discount travelers) and no surprises then, compared to roaming in Russia is a very important saving, as we see in this table:
HOW MUCH DOES INTERNET COST IN RUSSIA WITH HOLAFLY, MOVISTAR, VODAFONE AND ORANGE
|Amount of data||Holafly||Movistar||Vodafone||Orange|
|2GB /10 days unlimited data||23,75 €||24500 €||150 €||140 €|
As you can see, the savings from buying a Holafly Russia are quite simply enormous.
You receive it at home before you leave on your trip and it’s easy to install and use: you don’t have to “load it with data”, the price you pay includes the card and its data pack and it can be adjusted to the size you consider, be it Mini, Macro or Nano Size.
ADVANTAGES OF HOLAFLY DATA SIM CARD FOR RUSSIA
- No queues at the airport or need to look for free wifi anywhere, when you land you insert it and you have internet in Russia.
- It’s sent to your home for free. Within 72 hours, the company covers the shipping of your card.
- You have internet immediately upon arrival in the country. You avoid looking for a place to buy your card.
- Furthermore, you also have the option of eSIM, the new technology of SIM cards. If you are one of those who use the latest technology mobiles with eSIM (virtual SIM) option you might be interested in one of these. You buy it and receive it immediately in QR format to the mail you indicate.
- 24 hour support via chat and email, in case you have any questions.
- You do not have to present any document for the purchase.
- So far you have only one card that offers you connection from 10 days.
HOLAFLY DISCOUNT COUPON FOR RUSSIA
To get these prices you need the discount coupon for Holafly Russia from Travelistos, which is 5%. If you enter through the link the discount is automatically applied during the purchase.
BUY THE SIM ON ARRIVAL IN RUSSIA
If you want to save some euros at the cost of having to look for the SIM card 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.
WHICH OPERATORS I CAN BUY A RUSSIAN SIM CARD FROM UPON ARRIVAL
Being the third largest company in the country, it offers good connection, coverage and speed, with the exception of the Crimea and Sevastopol. It has cards that offer coverage from 1 GB upwards. Some cards can operate in tablets. Note that to activate them you have to text an activation code via phone.
- Advantage: you can use the card, in some cases, in other devices that operate as a mobile.
- Disadvantage: some cards may cost you more than a card with only data because it offers you calls and text messages.
It is one of the largest operators in the country, and is associated with a network that I’m sure you know, Vodafone. If you are a customer of this last mentioned network, MTC charges roaming service, to Vodafone customers who consider this option, with very high rates.
This company has plans that range from more than 2GB of data onwards, and like the previous operator, you will have to activate the card with some activation codes that you will find on their website, consulting the distributor or consulting on the Internet.
- Advantage: you can load your card with more data through another activation code.
- Disadvantage: in some cases, this operator may block incoming calls through a VoIP network (virtual phone that can operate on a computer and do actions such as making or receiving calls, also called softphone).
It is one of the leading mobile operators in Russia with more than 58 million customers. This operator offers a SIM card especially for tourists with unlimited data at the speed of 3.6 MB per second at a price of about 700 RUB.
- Advantage: you can load your card with more data if you need it.
- Disadvantage: you will have to find an operator’s office and present your passport to be able to buy it.
WHICH OPTION IS RIGHT FOR ME?
In our case, for our trips we always carry Holafly’s SIM for convenience (internet when getting off the plane) and for the following reasons
- You will keep your WhatsApp number. So you don’t lose your contacts to keep communicating with them. Forget about adding them back to your phone when you put in your data SIM.
- Attention 24/7. If you have any questions, you can write to them via email or chat at any time.
- Unlimited data: use your data and forget about worrying about it running out.
- Free shipping. you will receive it within 72 working hours. If you want it to arrive faster, you can contract the Express or Urgent service, these will give you the card in 48 hours and 16 hours, respectively.
ADDITIONAL TIPS ABOUT THE INTERNET IN RUSSIA
- Russia charges for roaming. Remember that although Russia is considered a European country, it does not belong to the European Union, nor to the group of countries where roaming is “free” (I say this in quotes because in the end it will cost you to connect to the Internet, only that it will be the same rate as in your country), so this option of Internet connection will be very expensive for you.
- Passport to buy SIM. If you are going to buy a SIM card in person, do not forget to show your passport. Some distributors, who offer cards that require prior installation, may ask you for your passport.
- Yandex to Google. Well, not so much so, but you have another option for Internet searches besides the well-known Google, this is the Yandex, which is the most popular search engine in the country.
- Open a VKontakte account. If you want to stay a good season in Russia, you can download this Facebook simile, VKontakte, is the most popular social network in Russia, you can make friends.
- Better data than calls and SMS. Some companies offer you the same services as roaming, which includes: Internet access (data), calls and SMS, but what you want is only data, so you will have a card dedicated to the needs of this time. Remember that people now communicate (write or call) via WhatsApp, Telegram or Facebook Messenger.
Learn more travel tips to Russia about the best time to travel, activities, documentation and requirements, currency exchange, travel insurance among others.