The country code for Russia (and Kazakhstan as a former member of the Soviet Union) is 7.
Russian telephone numbers have a three-, four- or five-digit area code (depending on the province) followed by an individual number with 7, 6 or 5 digits respectively, which always gives a total of 10 digits. The three-digit area code 800 is used for free calls. Mobile phones always have a three-digit “region code” and a seven-digit number.
For calls within the same area code, the area code can be omitted (except to Moscow).
Interregional calls in Russia: 8 (wait for tone) complete Russian number including area code.
The international dialling code for dialling in from Russia is sequence 8 (wait for the secondary tone and then) 10
For international calls to Russia, as always, replace the plus sign (+) in the international telephone format with the local international dialling code of the country you are calling from, followed by the country code of Russia (7), then the individual Russian telephone number, including the area code.
Prepaid SIM cards
There are 5 GSM operators in Russia, all using the 900/1800 MHz standard for 2G, the 900/2100 MHz standard for 3G and the 800/2600 MHz standard for 4G/LTE, as in Europe and Asia. Check that your phone is compatible with one of these standards before bringing it to Russia. The 5 operators are Beeline, Megafon, MTS, Tele2 and Yota. There is also a CDMA network: Skylink, but you need to buy a Skylink phone to use this network.
All operators offer cheap SIM cards with data tariffs, which are always a better alternative to paying roaming charges. Megafon is considered the company with the best network coverage, but Beeline is considered the cheapest.
When you buy a SIM card in a shop, you need your passport to identify yourself and it takes about 5 minutes to fill in the necessary documents. If you do not speak Russian, you will need to find someone who does speak English. You can also buy a SIM card at automatic kiosks in metro stations. Calls to landlines from mobile phones are more expensive than calls to other mobile phones, especially those using the same network. Incoming calls are free of charge. You can top up your card at the company shops you use or at automatic kiosks. You can buy a prepaid card for international calls, but online services like Skype are often cheaper.
If you want to connect your laptop or computer to a data network, you can also buy cheap SIM cards for a USB modem.