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).
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
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"!