As part of my trip to Siberia I had a layover at Moscow Airport Sheremetyevo, the main international terminal for visiting Moscow. Unfortunately I had only a couple hours and the city center is actually pretty far away from SVO airport. Therefore I decided not to go for the Moscow tourism spots but to roam around the airport for you in order to find the best Russian 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 cheap! Great value for money. That definitely made me smile. Who does not love cheap data?

The worst value for money is buying a sim card in Holland or Germany, about €10 per 1GB.

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 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.

Don't pay any international roaming costs anymore. Buying a sim card in the country you travel to is much cheaper. I did the math for you for sim cards for tourists in Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, France and many more countries and always came to the same conclusion.

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

Best Russian prepaid sim card

As I said the airport is pretty big and it more or less comes down to where 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. Just before you enter the station there are many shops lined up where you can buy Russian sim cards for tourists as well.

Last but not least I will discuss the options of buying a Russian sim card at Terminal F.

Buying a Russian sim 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.

beeline russia sim card

600 Rubles = $9

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

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 French sim card at Paris Airport was not so straight forward as in Moscow Airport! Look here for my full article about it.

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 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 worte 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 sim 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 sim card Russia

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.

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.

beeline russia shop

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

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

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 mobile phone shop but in Terminal F there was a Megafon kiosk again.

Megafon sim card Russia 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 Moscow, 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. Tourist sim cards in France and Belgium are pretty affordable for European standards, but still no where near what the value for money you get in Russia.

4G Coverage maps for Russia

Let’s quickly have a look at all the Russia sim card providers and their 4G network across the country.

4G coverage map Beeline

4g coverage beeline russia

4G coverage map TELE2

4g coverage map tele2 russia

4G coverage map Megafon

4g coverage map megafon russia

Looking at the 4G coverage maps for Russia you can clearly see that Megafon has the best 4G network.

MTS sim card Russia

Apparently there 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 traveling

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

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.

My experience buying a Russian sim 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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about traveltomtom

This is me

My name is Tom and my biggest passion is obviously traveling. In 2008 I decided to go on a trip around the world and in 1 year I traveled through 24 countries from North America to South America, New Zealand, Australia and finally South East Asia.

I got back to the Netherlands and saved as much money as I could and in December 2012 I quitted my job again and ever since I am traveling the world. I have now been to almost 100 countries and this website and my social media accounts help me to travel the world. Traveling makes me a better person with ever day I am on the road. Don’t waste time live now, go out and explore the world! May you want to help a little please use my affiliate links. Thank you very much!

With this blog I love to give back and help you make the most out of your trip. I hope these tips will help. May you have specific questions please get in touch with me.

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