Flying to Moscow Airport Sheremetyevo soon? Avoid on high roaming costs and buy a Russia sim card on arrival. Prepaid sim cards in Russia come with a lot of data and are cheap. No need to use those slow data roaming packages from home. In this guide you read everything about buying a Russia sim card at Moscow Airport based on my own experiences.

Unfortunately I only had a couple hours layover on Moscow Airport as part of my trip to Altai Mountains. It gave me enough time tho to roam the airport for you in order to find the best Russia sim card for tourists.

Having a lot of experience comparing sim cards in Europe and Asia, I am happy to tell you that buying a prepaid sim card for Russia is actually really affordable! Great value for money. When discovering this definitely made me smile. Who does not love cheap data?

Order a Russia sim card online

You can also order a sim card for traveling in Russia online and get it shipped to your home address before your trip with free shipping to the US. Prices for these international sim cards offered on the Simoptions website are much more expensive, but an easy, simple and reliable way to get online in Russia. Click on the link to get a data sim card for Russia with 10 GB data for $49,95.

Don't forget travel insurance!

Are you covered for your trip to Russia already? Who is gonna help you in case of stolen luggage, unexpected medical costs, delays, cancellations, etc.? Click below to get a free quotation.

 

Arriving at Moscow Airport SVO

First off this airport is spread out with 6 terminals and traveling in and between the terminals takes time. There are trains that connect the terminals so if you are in transit don’t worry the transportation system is pretty well organized. But hey we are in Russia, be prepared to struggle with languages barriers.

You may think at an international airport with this status there would be a ton of people speaking English, but forget about it. Welcome to Russia!

The ladies at the information desk all spoke good English and were very helpful. A tip for when you visit Moscow, download a translate app this will make traveling in Russia much easier.

To use most translate apps that use the dictation function you need a working internet connection. Sheremetyevo Airport has very easy access to good and free WiFi but as soon as you leave the airport you would wish you had a prepaid sim card for Russia with data. So no need to explain you anymore why you should buy a Russia sim card on arrival.

Aeroexpress SVO Airport

In and between Terminal D and E there is the Aeroexpress train station, the most convenient way to get from Sheremetyevo Airport to Moscow city. Just before you enter the train station there are many mobile phone shops where they sell prepaid Russian sim card for tourists.

Traveling with a family? Then may be a TEP Wireless portable wifi device is interesting for you. Unlimited data for a couple bucks a day, for up to 5 devices at the same time.

Tep Wireless

Where to buy a sim card at Moscow Airport

As I said the airport is pretty big and it more or less comes down to which terminal you arrive. Most travelers from Europe will arrive at Terminal B or D so let’s have a look at buying a Russian sim card there first.

terminal b svo airport

If you are about to visit Moscow then I recommend you to go to the city by Aeroexpress, a convenient train that connects Sheremetyevo Airport to Moscow city. It is located between Terminal B and D. Just before you enter the train station there are many shops lined up where you can buy Russia sim cards for tourists as well.

At Terminal F there are also shops in the arrival hall where you can buy a prepaid Russia sim card.

Buying a sim card at SVO Terminal B

Arriving at Terminal B at SVO airport makes things easy for you as there is no choice. The only available sim card for Russia is Beeline. It is impossible to miss the Beeline shop as it is straight in front of you when you walk out of arrivals.

Prepaid sim card Beeline

The following picture is hard to read when you don’t speak Russian. Neither do I so I had the guy selling the Beeline sim Russia sim card explain me in his best English what everything means.

600 Rubles = $9

  • 15 GB - 4G internet
  • 500 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • 300 SMS
  • Valid for 30 days

beeline russia sim card

Total costs for this package is only around $9, that is only $0,60 per GB data. I told you Russian sim cards are cheap! When arriving at Terminal B buying a Beeline sim card for Russia is worth it.

Buying a sim card at SVO Terminal D

At SVO Airport Terminal D there are two options for you. In the arrivals hall on level 1 there is TELE2 and at the departures hall level 3 you can buy a Megafon sim card.

Megafon Russia prepaid sim card

Let me tell you if it is worth going up two levels to the Megafon kiosk to buy your Russia sim here.

megafon russia

I went there twice as a week later I wanted to double check the information what I wrote down and both ladies spoke very little English. Service level for English speaking tourists was zero. I used a translate app to get the following info.

There are two Megafon sim cards for tourists available:

750 Rubles = $11

  • 20 GB - 4G internet
  • 750 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • Unlimited texting
  • 1 month valid

1,000 Rubles = $15

  • 30 GB - 4G internet
  • 1,500 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • Unlimited texting
  • 1 month valid

Both packages are really great value for money of course if you compare it to buying a sim card in Europe. But is it worth buying a prepaid sim card for tourists at the Megafon shop in Terminal D? I would tell you not to! There is a better option.

TELE2 Russia prepaid sim card

Depending on which exit you take from the luggage belts you will either walk up to the TELE2 shop or it is on your left in the arrivals hall. At the small shop two young employees were very helpful and explained the available TELE2 sim cards fro tourists in Russia.

tele2 sim russia

TELE2 Russia offers the following sim cards for tourists:

600 Rubles (400 + 200 activation costs) = $9

  • 15 GB - 4G internet
  • Unlimited calls to TELE2  numbers in Russia
  • 500 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • 50 sms
  • Free Facebook, VKontakte, Viber, Whatsapp
  • 1 month valid

900 Rubles (700 + 200 activation costs) = $13

  • 30 GB - 4G internet
  • Unlimited calls to TELE2  numbers in Russia
  • 800 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • 50 sms
  • Free Facebook, VKontakte, Viber, Whatsapp
  • 1 month valid

Looking at these Russian prepaid sim card packages I am impressed by the value for money of TELE2. Since I never really call and text anyway, a TELE2 sim card for Russia was a perfect match.

Beeline Russia prepaid sim card

There is a Beeline shop that sells the following package:

500 Rubles = $7

  • Unlimited internet - 4G network
  • 500 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • 300 sms
  • No hotspot available
  • 14 days valid
  • 30 Rubles per day extra, top up credit can be bought everywhere

beeline russia shop

There is also a shop called EBPOCETb where they sell Megafon sim cards and Beeline sim cards. The guy in the shop recommended me to buy a Megafon sim card instead of Beeline. Scroll down to see 4G network coverage maps for Russia.

sim card russia moscow airport

Buying a sim card at SVO Terminal F

In the end I headed to Terminal E and F to find the perfect Russia sim card for tourists. At Terminal E there is NO shop that sells prepaid sim cards for Russia, but in Terminal F there was a Megafon kiosk again.

Megafon sim card Russia at SVO Terminal F

Of course here they sold the same sim cards for tourists as they did at the Terminal D, but to my surprise they also sold a specific tourist package.

sim card russia airport moscow

Megafon tourist sim card Russia

500 Ruble = $7

  • 30 GB - 4G internet
  • 1500 minutes calling in and to Russia
  • Unlimited Social Networks (Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, VKontakte, Viber, WhatsApp)
  • 15 days valid

WOW! Looking at the above I am sure you are stunned too. Free social media and on top of that 30GB and just $7. I asked if there would be any activation costs, but nope you pay just the 500 Rubles.

russia sim for tourists

For tourists traveling to Russia for less than 2 weeks this for sure is the best prepaid sim card you can find at Sheremetyevo Airport. The Megafon shop is open from 09.00 to 21.00 daily and is next to the meeting point at Terminal F.

Sim card for Moscow region only

It is also possible to buy a sim card that only works in the Moscow capital region, but looking at the prices for prepaid sim cards in Russia there is no need to. Prices are most probably super affordable for most tourists anyway.

4G Coverage maps for Russia in 2021

Let’s quickly have a look at all the Russia sim card providers selling sim cards at Moscow Airport and their 4G network across the country to determine who has the best mobile internet network in Russia. All the maps are collected data from nperf. For more detailed maps of the Russia mobile internet coverage have a look at the link and you can zoom in to the region in Russia you will be traveling.

Is there 5G in Russia?

No! Unfortunately as of January 2021 there is still NO 5G in Russia.

Beeline Russia 4G network

beeline russia 4G network 2021

TELE2 Russia 4G network

tele2 russia 4G network 2021

Megafon Russia 4G network

megafon russia 4G network 2021

Looking at the mobile internet coverage maps for Russia you can see that of January 2021 the 4G networks are pretty similar for each provider, but Megafon is slightly more extensive and therefore has the best 4G network in Russia in 2021. 

I expect Russia to start rolling out 5G soon, but unfortunately it is hard to go through the Russian news on the internet as I do NOT speak a word Russian! ;)

MTS and Yota sim card for Russia

There are two more Russia mobile internet providers: Yota and MTS, but they  is also the option of buying a MTS prepaid sim card for Russia, but I did not come across a shop or a reseller to get more info about MTS sim cards for tourists in Russia.

Portable WiFi device for Russia

Unlimited data in more than 100 countries around the world? Check out a TEP Wireless portable wifi device for a couple dollar a day that connects up to 5 devices at the same time.

Tep Wireless

What you need to buy a Russia Sim Card

You don’t need Rubles yet, at all the mobile operator shops you can pay with credit card. You do need your passport for registration, but since you are traveling to Moscow you have that on you anyway.

Buy a Russia sim card online

Order a Russia sim card online by clicking on this link. You get 10 GB data to use in Russia for $49,95 and the sim card will be send to your home address before your departure. This sim card does not include calling and texting!

My experience buying a Russia Sim Card at Moscow Airport

I decided to buy a TELE2 sim card for traveling in Russia and spent $9 on the smallest prepaid sim package. I went on a trip to the Altai Mountains in Siberia and to my surprise I could not only use the network of TELE2, but also the Megafon network. No clue why but it worked smooth.

Another reason why I would recommend you to buy a Megafon or TELE2 prepaid sim card for Russia at Moscow Airport.

A working network connection in Russia is as you can imagine a challenge in the worlds biggest country. But overall if I had a signal the 4G speed was good, especially in cities. On the road in Siberia I mostly just had a 3G signal, which worked fine.

More about my road trip in Altai, Siberia, check out my blog about this undiscovered region in Russia!

I hope this blog about prepaid sim cards in Russia was helpful for you if you have a question please leave me a comment. 

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