Phone Calls

The international phone code of Russia is «7″, the code of Kazan is «843″. If you call to Kazan from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or «+»), then the code of Russia «7″, then Kazan (843), and then the seven digit city number. If you call to Kazan from any place in Russia, dial 8, wait for a tone, then dial the Kazan code (843), and then the seven digit city number. If you dial a local number inside Kazan, just dial the 7-digit number, without any prefixes.

The best option for long distance call is using a VOIP service. Calls to many developed countries are free by VOIP providers. The rates for other countries are much cheaper than any option available. To do so you need to have an internet connection. Then you can make a call either from your phone or your computer.

The other best place to call from is  a Post Office or Call center of Tattelekom. To make a phone call, first queue for the operator, pay an advance for a call (about 50 R) and then they’ll tell you what cabin to go to make a call. Once your call is finished, you can get back the money you paid, if you haven’t used it all already.

But if you plan to stay in Kazan for a longer period it is very cheap to buy a SIM card with any of the local operators. SIM cards cost about $3 or $4 and usually come with a few dollars of phone credit.

MOBILE PHONES, NETWORKS & TARIFFS

Roaming in Russia

If you are traveling with your own cell phone and SIM card, you will be able to use it in Russia if your provider has a «roaming» agreement with one of the local mobile operators. However, the roaming charges are too high, starting at 2-3$ per minute for incoming and around 5$ for outgoing calls and about 1$ for outgoing SMS. If you would like to save money you can get a local SIM card.

Russian Mobile Networks & Coverage

There are three major mobile network providers in Russia: MTS, BeeLine, and Megafon. The prices and the services offered by these operators are quite similar. Their networks cover most cities and rural areas in European Russia, and some major Siberian cities. Services such as LTE, 4G, 3G, WAP, GPRS, text messaging, 24 hour customer support are provided by all major operators. On the official sites of network providers you can find more information about the prices and services: BeeLine: www.kazan.beeline.ru, MTS www.tatarstan.mts.ru,Megafon www.megafon.ru.

Normally, a minute costs about 1-2 roubles/min and sms is about 1-1.5 roubles (including taxes). The 1 Mb of data traffic is priced around 9-10 roubles. The best way is to take one of the plans with call and data. The monthly plan cost around 250-300 rubles per month and offer 300 minutes of talk-time, 100 SMS, 1GB data traffic. Voice mail is priced at about 1 rouble per day.

To top-up/refill your account you can either buy refill vouchers or pay at the operator’s office and pay terminals. The pay terminals are located in plenty number around the city and can be found on almost every bus stops.

Mobile Standards in Russia

Russian mobile companies use two standards GSM 900/1800 (European standard) and CDMA (American standard). So, check your phone instruction to find out which standard it is operating in. GSM is far more popular in Russia and all the leading national operators use it in their networks, CDMA is used only by several local providers (in Moscow, St.Petersburg). If you live in the US, it is unlikely that your mobile supports GSM standard, so you will need to buy a phone in Russia. If you live in Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavian counties), your telephone should support GSM, however, you should check if it is «locked» with your operator.