Find the requirements to get connected to Russian internet, TV and telephone, as well as a list of the main Russian internet, TV, and telephone providers.
Russia is generally not seen as cost-effective in comparison to other European countries. It can also be difficult to find web pages in English versions. Unless you speak Russian, you may need the help of a translator. To avoid being without Russian television, internet or telephone when moving into a new home, it is advisable to start researching your options at least two weeks before moving in.
This guide explains how to connect to internet, TV, and telephone after relocating to Russia:
- Telecommunications in Russia: internet, TV and telephone packages
- Connecting to Russian internet
- Russian television and cable TV
- Landline Russian telephones
- Russian mobile phones
Telecommunications in Russia: Internet, TV and telephone packages
Most Russian phone and internet companies offer package deals that include TV, telephone, and broadband internet in Russia. Bills come monthly.
It should be noted that some services depend on the area you are living. Not every company covers entire areas or all services, so you may need to use one company to connect to Russian TV and another for telephone and internet.
To ensure you have internet, telephone or TV connection when you move in, you should contact providers at least two weeks before moving. Contracts can be generally canceled with a month’s notice, therefore, there are typically no long-term contracts.
In order to install a Russian telephone, internet or TV connection, the service provider will typically want to see the following documents:
- application form
- tenancy contract or title deeds.
Connecting to Russian internet
Russia’s biggest cities, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, have well-developed internet networks with a high-speed broadband connection. Internet in Russia is also available via cable, mobile internet, LAN, and dial-up.
However, Russian internet connections are not as developed in smaller towns and sometimes even on the outskirts of large cities. Subsequently, you may be subject to pay higher prices for lower speeds.
The majority of apartments in Moscow and St Petersburg have a Russian broadband connection already installed or offer something similar. If there is no internet socket, you must apply for one.
All Russian internet providers offer online applications and it typically takes around two weeks to set the connection up.
The major internet providers in Russia include:
Getting a VPN in Russia
When moving abroad, it’s more important than ever to ensure your privacy and security while surfing online. For many expats living in Russia, this means getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs can help you browse with more anonymity and privacy wherever you are in the world. They can also help unblock online content, letting you access your favorite sites and platforms from home and abroad. VPNs available in Russia include:
Russian television and cable TV
Unlike some other countries, there is no mandatory TV license in Russia. There are several options for accessing Russian television. The system works with a network of television transmissions – terrestrial, cable, and satellite.
The country’s process to shift its analog broadcasting to digital was prolonged to 2018. Consequently, 3,300 Russian TV channels are transmitted without needing a mandatory license. Cable TV is the norm in Russia, with all providers offering various packages. The vast majority of residential buildings have aerials mounted to their roofs and receive 15 channels for free.
Russia also has various major cable and satellite TV providers. Channels are typically in English, but you can also buy Smart TVs with subtitles. The leading satellite TV provider in Russia is Tricolour TV which offers packages of up to 151 channels, starting at around RUB 1,200 a year.
Another TV provider OnLime (Rostelcom) offers packages starting with a basic 129 channels priced at RUB 320 per month. They offer packages that include English language channels.
As for TV cable connections, Akado is a leader with its basic 95 channels for RUB 300 per month. All three companies have broadband packages including television, internet, and telephone at various affordable prices. These also allow you to listen to Russian radio.
Most apartments in major cities already have these services. However, if a new tenant or owner wants to change providers, the application can be completed online, by telephone, or visiting the company’s office. About five to seven working days are required for new installations; contracts don’t have a date of duration indicated, so it gives the possibility to cancel with a 10-day notice. Bills for Russian television can be paid online, in the offices of the service provider, at designated payment machines, or over the phone.
Connecting a Russian telephone: Landlines in Russia
The telephone systems in Russia’s major cities and larger urban areas have modern and highly developed digital communications. In rural areas, the networks are typically old and outdated. Rostelecom is the leading national provider of Russian telephone lines, while in the capital Moscow City Telephone Services is the most popular telephone provider.
The majority of residential buildings usually have a pre-connected Russian landline and transferring ownership is a relatively easy and quick procedure. If a socket is already installed you will be connected within a couple of weeks. If there is no Russian telephone connection, however, you will need to register an application to have a landline installation.
In most cases, you will need a Russian telephone line before you can connect to Russian internet. Many providers offer combined packages includign telephone and internet in Russia.
Russian mobile phones
Russia has three main mobile service providers – MTS, MegaFon and BeeLine – which offer pay-as-you-go and contract packages. These packages frequently include text and internet usage. MTS and MegaFon also have packages available in English on their websites.
Where you are calling from and to which area determines the price of phone calls. Calls within one city or the area are at standard charges, while calling to another city or region can get expensive. For a comparison, this website shows the packages provided by all three companies.
The network coverage in Russia has both 3G and 4G communication standards. Free WiFi is also accessible in various public places, such as major streets, cafes, parks, and hotels. Moscow is very WiFi-friendly and offers open networks in the airports, subway and train stations. Read even more in our guide to Russian mobile operators, SIM cards and dialling Russian mobile numbers.