Best Russia SIM card to get in 2024

Best Russia SIM card to get in 2024

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square in Russia with logos of the 3 most popular mobile phone operators to buy a SIM card for travel : Beeline, Megafon, MTS

Visiting Russia soon and looking for the best SIM card to get on arrival ? There are plenty of mobile phone operators in the country and it can be confusing to choose which one to buy.

They often come with lots of data and are fairly cheap but not all are good enough depending on where you plan to travel in Russia.

In this post I explain you which ones are the best for your travel in Russia, how much it costs and of course where to buy your Russia SIM card. (Listed in no particular order)

Last updated 03/03/2024

A church in Saint Petersbourg in Russia with a smartphone and a Megafon SIM card
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Which SIM card is best in Russia ?

There’s no universal answer to that. It actually depends on where you plan to travel in Russia. For example, if you only stay in Moscow, any mobile phone operator will do the job, but if you plan on travelling in smaller towns and villages away from the major cities, you need an appropriate one that will actually get signal.

What makes a mobile phone operator good for travelling in Russia (in my opinion) :

  • Good network coverage (No matter which one you choose, none will get you 4g the entire Trans-siberian journey … more like Edge+ if you’re lucky)
  • Loads of data (I bet you don’t care having unlimited call if you speak zero russian)
  • Easy to find mobile store to top-up (if needed) if you don’t own a MIR bank card to do it online (the staff will do it for you)

Here are the top 3 mobile phone operators in Russia (according to Roskomnadzor and myself) :


Megafon logo

Мегафон – Megafon is the most popular mobile phone operator in Russia for data. You will find stores in every cities and towns and even international airports.

Note that being the most used operator has its cons. The speed can drop in major cities in the evening and week ends. (still good enough to scroll on social medias)


MTS logo

МТС – Pronounced MTS, is equally good to Megafon in terms of data, speed and quality, however it’s less popular because sightly more expensive.

It’s said to have the most phone coverage in the country, so it might be a good option if you are travelling far and wide.


Beeline logo

билайн – Beeline is the best operator if you plan to travel away from the regional cities. It is often the only working operator in more remote places and villages.

Of course not the best in speed but at least you will have phone signal.

I definitely recommend Beeline to travel around the Caucasus.

Where to get a SIM card in Russia ?

Mobile phone operator stores can be find in airports, shopping centers, city and town centers everywhere across Russia. Megafon, MTS and Beeline are the most popular ones so you won’t have problem spotting them.

Like in any countries, I don’t recommend you to buy your SIM card on arrival at the airport, they might have plans special newbies to Russia or try to sell you more expensive ones (with things you basically don’t need) just because you’re a tourist.

Yes you will need your passport to buy a SIM card in Russia. No they won’t take your finger prints.

Note 1 : Just like anything else in the country, you can’t buy your SIM card (nor top-up online) with a foreign bank card, so unless you own a MIR card, you will have to pay cash in rubles.

Note 2 : Even if you have a russian bank card, you will not be able to buy it online and ship it abroad to get it before your arrival in the country.

A Beeline phone operator store to buy a russian SIM card

How much does it cost ?

The prices between all these mobile phone operators are roughly similar. I said previously MTS is slightly more expensive than Megafon but, at the time of writing the rate of the russian ruble is more or less 1€ = 100₽ so expect to pay between 7 to 10€ for 30GB for 30 days.

Many operators offer unlimited access to Telegram, Yandex maps and some other apps in their plans, so even if you have no more data you can still look for an address on the russian Google maps and text you mom via Telegram, which is very convenient if you ask me.

Example of prices :

Megafon30GB + 800 minutes + unlimited messengers & others750₽
MTS30GB + 700 minutes + unlimited messengers790₽
Beeline30GB + 700 minutes + unlimited Telegram & others social medias790₽
800₽ is about 8€ at the time of writing | Average prices for 30 days | Doesn’t include the SIM card itself

Important : make sure the plan you get will work everywhere you will travel to ! Some are just for Moscow region for example and others are for the whole Russia.

My personal preference

I always go for the first phone operator I see in the street unless I know I will go to smaller towns and villages I buy a Beeline one. (The SIM card doesn’t last more than 3 months if not topped-up, that’s why I always buy a new one every time I go to Russia)

In most of my travels in Russia I had a Megafon SIM card (I’m telling you, they are everywhere), which worked fine for what I needed (I’m not the most connected person). I had 2 SIM cards to travel the Caucasus because I wasn’t sure which one worked best and it turned out to be Beeline.

A Megafon store in Moscow to buy a russian SIM Card


Is there 5g in Russia ?

Not really. According to local news, MTS started some test areas in Moscow but those frequencies are already used by the Russian Defense Ministry and Roscosmos (the Russian Space Agency).

Can foreigners buy SIM card in Russia ?

Yes foreigners can buy a SIM card in Russia, only a passport is needed.

Can I buy a SIM card at Moscow airport ?

Yes, there are kiosks and stores of Megafon and Beeline in Moscow’s airports, however I do not recommend you to buy one there as the “tourist plans” might not be as advantageous as they sound.

A SMartphone with a logo of the russian phone operator Beeline for a SIM card
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