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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.
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