Where to buy a SIM card
- At the providers’ offices
The most popular providers have their offices opened throughout the city, some of them conveniently meeting the incomers right at the Pulkovo airport or at the city’s railway stations. Be it a store or a small kiosk in a shopping mall, the procedure is always the same: the salesperson will inform you of the available options, then will you sign the documents, pay, and receive a ready-to-use SIM card. Feel free to ask the vendor to put it into your device and activate it to make sure it works. Please note that it's better not to purchase SIM cards on the street!
- Order online
Why talk to someone when you can pick the best deal yourself? Just go to the website of interest, choose the plan according to your needs, and fill in the application form. In about one to three work days, the courier will deliver your SIM card and the documents to sign right to your door.
In both cases, the only document you need is your passport or ID.
Choose your fighter
Below you can find the list of major mobile operators in Russia. I wouldn't recommend spending too much time comparing them as they, being in constant competition, all provide high-quality service with slight differences in packages. You may opt for one that your friends use already and, if you find a better deal, change it, keeping your number.
How much does it cost?
The answer is: it depends. Some offer free SIM cards, others include a token fee of 50 rubles, but anyways, your first payment is equal to the monthly fee of the plan you’re purchasing or to a predetermined sum that will be credited to your account. On average, the cheapest option costs 300-450 rubles.
Here are examples of what you can get at different providers:
400 rubles: 200 minutes of calls + 10 GB of internet (Tele2)/ 250 minutes of calls + 10 GB of internet (Beeline)
800 rubles: 1000 minutes of calls + 50 GB of internet + unlimited messengers (Tele 2)/ unlimited calls and internet (MTS)
Monthly bills can be paid online, right from your bank account, via a provider’s app or website with your card. The easiest way is to set up a monthly transfer and forget about it.
- Great coverage.
A slew of communication towers placed all over the country let you stay in touch even in the countryside. Some SIM cards, for example, by MegaFon and Yota, Tele2 allow you to make phone calls and use your mobile internet when riding the St. Petersburg metro, i.e., being more than 30 meters underground.
- No more roaming.
A couple of years ago, traveling or communicating in different parts of the country put you on roaming, because telecom companies operated regionally. Luckily, it's not a problem anymore! Wherever you are in Russia, you can call your friends even if they use another provider, and don’t worry about spending a fortune for a 5-minute chat.
- Changing the provider.
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s possible to go for another provider without changing your number. The easiest way is to visit the office of the company you want to change to. Fill in the application, sign a new contract, get a new SIM card, and in about 8 days, after all your info is checked, you can use it on new terms. To transfer the number, please make sure the previous contract is signed by you, too.