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Keeping in touch

Keeping in touch (3)

While on vacation, most people don't want to be distracted by things back home. However, sometimes, it is important to keep in touch with friends and family members while you are on the go, traveling out of state or out of the country. Learn about the ways of communication in Russia.

Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:47

Wi-Fi Access

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Wi-Fi enables people with their own computers to connect wirelessly on the internet. To be able to use this standard you need special wireless network card installed in your computer. Most modern notebooks have it pre-installed. There are now dozens Wi-Fi hotspots in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities in Russia. Many of them are free, some charge $5-$10 per hour.

Many hotels offer internet access, as well as connections for laptops in rooms. Some Russian mobile network providers also offer WAP services. If you don't have either option, then you may want to use one of the many internet cafes in the city center.
Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:46

Land lines

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Land lines in Russia are NOT digital/tone, they are still rotary/pulse mode, so to use phone cards you need to activate the phone you are using to send tone signals to make the card work, that is done by pressing the "*" key (you often need to hold it for a while then it'll come up with a 'd' on the screen) before pressing the numbers on the phone card.

8 (eight) is a very important  number to remember, it is the long-distance prefix used to dial a number within an  area code different from yours, when in Russia. So to dial a Moscow number, dial 8-495-***-****

810 (eight one zero) is the International Dialing Code you use to make an overseas call from 'within' Russia.

7 (seven) is the International Telephone Country Code used to call or dial to Russia.

495 (four nine five) is the Area or City Code used to call or dial to Moscow.

812 (eight one two) is the Area or City Code used to dial to Saint-Peterburg.

Other cities codes can be found on the Country Calling Codes website (not a full list but a decent one in English). Or if you know the name of where you are going and the region it's in (in Russian) then try this website

Thursday, 21 July 2011 13:44

Mobile phones

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GSM mobile phones work well within Moscow and St Petersburg, even in the Moscow metro. Signal strength falls away quickly, however, as you leave the cities and their suburbs.  GSM networks operate in nearly all Russia cities, so mobile phone use across the entire country is generally quite okay.  International roaming works fine in most Russian cities, but may come at high price.  The cheapest option for overseas calls using your mobile phone (in Moscow and St Petersburg) is to purchase a local sim card. 

The important thing to understand with Russia and its mobile phone network is that each city is on a different network and once you leave the city where you have purchased your sim card, you go onto roaming tariffs, which can be expensive.  The solution is that for any city where you will stay for any extended period of time, purchase a new sim card so that at least incoming calls are free of charge and you can call out on local rates.  Outside the major cities, the rate to call overseas will generally be about double the Moscow/St Petersburg rate, which means that a phone card may be the best option.

When buying a sim card you will almost always be asked to show your passport & registration. Don't worry - this is done for everyone.