Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Best Prepaid iPhone Plan In Moscow (Russia)

During my preparation for an upcoming trip to Russia, I researched and found what I believe to be the best prepaid iPhone plan in Moscow. As you may already know, my lifelong goal is to avoid the outrageous data roaming fees charged by French mobile carriers! So here come my step-by-step instructions on how to use this plan that will give you 300 minutes of local calls (landline & any mobile carrier), 3000 SMS, 3000 MMS & unlimited data (bandwidth capped at 64 kbps after 1Gb) for RUB500 (= US$17) for 30 days.

1) Have your iPhone officially unlocked by your mobile carrier.

2) Buy a Beeline prepaid card on eBay. There are many people selling Russian sim cards there. I bought mine from Lingon and was delivered in less than 10 days while this very nice seller answered all my technical questions (and I had many). It cost me €12 to buy a prepaid sim charged with RUB200 (granted this is more expensive than what Beeline charges but the price difference is negligible considering I will be able to use the sim card as soon as my plane lands in Moscow).

3) You should only insert the sim card in your iPhone once you arrive in Russia as you will be charged on a daily basis after the card is activated. As the plan costs RUB500 per month, you will actually be charged 1/30th of this price everyday: that is RUB 16.66 per day (=US$0.56). That means that a RUB 200 sim card will let me use this plan for 200/16.66= 12 days. The seller explained that even with only RUB 20 credit, you can use the 300 mins, 3000 SMS & 1 Gb in one day.

There are ATMs everywhere in Moscow that will let you add credit to your line with cash so topping up if you plan on staying more than 12 days isn't a problem.

4) What about data settings ?

I haven't tested this yet but it seems that the iPhone automatically recognizes beeline sim cards and will populate the APN settings accordingly.

In case it wouldn't, here are the correct settings

APN: internet.beeline.ru
Login: beeline
Password: beeline

You can also go to the APN changer website and save the profile file in your inbox so as to install it after you land (send the file to yourself via email so that it will be saved in your iPhone mailbox and will be accessible without cellular network or data connection).

5) If everything works the way it should, you won't have to fiddle with APN settings. You will just need to activate your sim card by dialing: *101*1111#

Dial: *102#  to check your balance.

6) The phone number stated in the sim card pack starts with "8". This "8" is used for long distance calling in Russia (just like "1" is used in the US). So if you want people to call you from abroad give them your Russian number without the "8": just like this: +7 9XXXXXXXX. This international phone number format will work from everywhere wether in Russia or abroad so just ditch the "8"!


Kyle Cline said...

Awesome man thanks! I will be in Russia this September, and I am going to do exactly what you've done here (buying it early).

I'm assuming the process should be identical for an Android user (unlocked Galaxy Nexus)?

fr8d said...

It should indeed be the same.

Worst case scenario, you might have to enter the APN settings manually.

Gald I could be of help. Thanks for your comment.

トリー バーチ(tory burch) said...

みなさん、大変お待たせいたしました。時代のファッションスタイルを操る力、注目を集める魅力、その名はアナスイ iphoneケース!アイオンケースの競争戦で人気が断トツ!そのレトロなミステリー雰囲気に魅了され、ファッション初心を忘れず、それこそ、アナスイのブランド精神です。初めてヴィヴィアンウエストウッドト出会ったのは、土星ロゴの目立つ財布でした。ヴィヴィアン iphone ケースはその時から、印象に残りました。

DjCj said...

Did you try to activate the SIM in the USA? I bought a Beeline sim from the same guy on Ebay and I topped it off online with 500 rub but I am not getting roaming service in US. Did you have to wait until you arrived in Russia?

Colin Gordon said...

What kinds of 3G speeds did you see in Moscow with the Beeline service?

ethnicityoftheweek said...

Great post - simple question but did you have to sign up for the plan yourself online? Cheers.

Priya Dharshini said...

Thanks for giving information.
Your article was very useful to choose vest iphone prepaid plan in Moscow.Here you have specified for putting this sim card, your iPhone officially unlocked by your mobile carrier.So i needed to unlock my iphone.For unlocking i referred TheUnlockArena.com Now i really enjoy with Beeline prepaid service.

international sim card said...

can you please suggest me best and cheap internet calling service to make Cheap calls to Bangladesh from India. It should be hassle free.

Raff Harris said...

Excellent quality articles are here. This is good site with useful info.


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