Mobile Communications in Europe

    I once wrote about my choice of roaming options of our mobile operators. Then I stopped at “Zero Without Borders” from MTS for incoming calls and at the tariff “Around the World” from Megafon for outgoing calls and the Internet. But three years have passed, much has changed. I decided to document the current state of affairs.

    For starters - why only Europe. Everything is simple here - I usually go on vacation to Europe. Not as often as some travel, but more often than I travel to other parts of the world.
    Why did such a question arise, why not buy a local sim card in the host country? Firstly, it is not always possible for a tourist. Secondly, this is not always beneficial for a tourist, especially if he arrived for a couple of days. But if I’m in the country for a week or more, I’m trying to get a local sim card.

    What do I need when traveling from communication - in descending order:
    1) Incoming calls to the main number and incoming SMS (especially any banking). At the same time, there is no particular desire to ring up everyone and tell me that I am in foreign countries.
    So inboxes need free or cheap. When saving a number.
    2) Internet. Given the previously loaded maps, my traffic requirements for the phone are not particularly great, for messengers, reading news announcements, answers to a couple of forums and rare searches for any information (there are all kinds of schedules) 40-50 megabytes per day are enough (if you save but without fanaticism).
    But I’ll take it with a margin and let it be 100 megabytes per day (I will not distribute the Internet to my laptop, as far as possible, there are many times higher needs).
    3) Outgoing calls. I prefer to make calls via the Internet, but sometimes I have to make calls without the Internet, because I also want reasonable prices for outgoing calls (for my volume of calls, I consider acceptable up to 10 rubles per minute ).

    I travel with two phones - the main smartphone for the Internet and just a dialer for incoming calls and SMS, so I’m not tied to one SIM card, there is flexibility when choosing.

    Ok, let's get started.
    Yes, still - I live in the Yaroslavl region, so I will give my own links to tariffs. But in other regions, the names of services do not change, only the prices change. Although, sometimes, some services or tariffs are not available.


    My main operator. The Smart tariff, 300 rubles per 300 minutes of calls and 3 gigabytes of traffic, is valid throughout Russia. Therefore, when traveling around Russia, roaming issues no longer arise. Unless with coverage, everything is not as good as we would like (but this is the case for all operators).
    We look at what is for my needs:

    1) “Zero without borders” - incoming from 1 to 10 minutes of conversation is free, the limit is 200 free minutes per month. The price is 95 rubles per day.
    But I connect this service only for bonuses, so it costs me free. And, since the duration of my trips usually does not exceed two weeks, a single connection is enough (10 days valid, I endure a couple of days without incoming).

    2) Internet.BIT / MaxiBIT / SuperBIT abroad . It provides 30/70/200 megabytes per day for 300/600/1500 rubles. Expensive.

    3) Outgoing. There is a service Free travel , gives 60 minutes of incoming / outgoing per day for 250 rubles. The price of a minute is 4.16 - but only if you spend all 60 minutes. So the option is niche.
    You can call by dialing through the code * 137 * number , then the cost of a minute is 19.90. Too expensive.

    Total : with MTS, I get only free incoming bonuses. But I’m not talking for long and I’m not traveling for long either, so this option suits me.
    For those who talk a lot, you can use this move - take a few SIM cards with you and, after 200 minutes have been spent on one, activate the service on the next. Just do not forget that for more than a month it will not work out like that.
    But the Internet and outgoing are expensive, only in case of serious need can be used.


    MegaFon_sign + logo_horiz_green_RU_ (RGB) .svg
    Here I have the Moscow tariff “Around the World” .
    Three years ago it was quite pleasant (for roaming, of course :)) - 6 rubles per minute of any conversation, 7 rubles per megabyte of traffic. For short trips, that was it.
    Now it has risen in price.

    1) Incoming at the rate - 13 rubles per minute.
    On other tariffs you can connect the option “Around the World” - 15 rubles connection, 9 rubles per day. Then all incoming calls will cost 13 rubles.
    Or you can connect the option "All World" - 30 minutes of free incoming for 39 rubles per day.

    2) Internet - at my rate - 19 rubles per megabyte, in a limited number of countries - "Austria, Armenia, Great Britain, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Romania, Turkey , Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia, South Africa. ”
    On other tariffs, you can connect the option Vacation-Online - connection 30 rubles. Then within a month the traffic will cost 19 rubles per megabyte, but in a few more countries “Austria, Armenia, Belarus , Great Britain, Germany , Greece, Egypt, Israel, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, United Arab Emirates, Portugal , Romania, Turkey, Ukraine , Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia, South Africa. ”

    There is also the “Internet Abroad” - traffic packets of the MTS type of BITs. For Europe - 10 megabytes for 129 rubles and 30 megabytes for 329. Slightly more expensive than MTS, there is a smaller package, but not large ones.

    3) Outgoing.
    On the tariff “Around the World” or with the “Around the World” option enabled, outgoing calls cost 13 rubles per minute, the service works through a reverse dialing — that is, in fact, this is an incoming call. If you turn off the reverse dialing on the “Around the World” tariff, then calls will cost 19 rubles for the first minute, then 6 rubles per minute.
    At other tariffs you can connect packages of minutes . For Europe - 25 minutes for 329 rubles, 50 minutes for 529 rubles.

    Total: tariff “Around the world” was killed. Remained limited for travel to Russia. It is better to take some kind of tariff without a subscription and, as necessary, connect the necessary options there. Free incoming in roaming can be cheaper than with MTS (if you pay in cash and not in bonuses). The Internet in small quantities (up to 10 megabytes) is cheaper than that of MTS, but from 30 megabytes is already more expensive. Outgoing - formally cheaper than MTS, but it depends on their number and methods of use.
    In general, a good option for free incoming, and the Internet and outgoing are about the same level as MTS. In some conditions, a little cheaper, in some - a little more expensive.


    I got a beeline not so long ago, initially for the Internet on a trip to Azerbaijan, but it came in handy in a couple of places. The tariff now I don’t even remember which one, something without a subscription. In terms of simplicity of tariffs, Beeline compares favorably with MTS and Megafon, there are few options.

    1) Inbox. I don’t use it, but the service is still connected. It is called Planet Zero .
    The connection costs 25 rubles, the subscription is removed only on the days of use. For 60 rubles you get 20 minutes per day. After exceeding - 10 rubles per minute.

    2) Internet. Here is the best offer from the Big Three. That's what it is called - “The Most Profitable Internet in Roaming” . 200 rubles for 40 megabytes, if exceeded - 5 rubles megabytes. No need to connect, it works automatically.

    3) Outgoing. Either the aforementioned “Planet Zero” - 60 rubles per day and outgoing at 20 rubles per minute, or “My Planet” - connecting 25 rubles, then, without any subscription, outgoing at 25 rubles per minute.

    Total: I do not use inbound and outbound, but for the Internet the solution is very good. For the big three.

    Travel SIM Cards

    Against the backdrop of proposals from the Big Three, they have recently lost their advantages. But consider it makes sense.
    For convenience of calculations, I will take the dollar exchange rate of 65 rubles, the euro - 75.


    Two rates are offered, Planet-Good and Good-Internet .

    1) Inbox. Formally - for free (more than a hundred countries on the list), but if you save the Russian number - $ 0.15 per minute (about 10 rubles, and for the beeline - also 3.5 rubles for redirection). In general, for incoming, in my opinion, it is unprofitable.

    2) Internet. Prices are the same on both tariffs, but on Good-Internet tariff you can get for 1 $ 20 megabytes per day. If run out, then the package can be connected again. That is, it turns out $ 0.05 per megabyte (3.25 approximately). The only thing is that you need to monitor the traffic so as not to fly out by megabyte payment - there is $ 0.25 per megabyte. Large packages are not particularly profitable, but 250 megabytes for $ 25 per week can be a convenient option for using instant messengers (the price of a megabyte is $ 0.1).

    3) Outgoing. $ 0.15 (10 p.) To Moscow and St. Petersburg to city and $ 0.29 (19 p.) To the rest of Russia and all mobile.

    Total: inboxes are not interesting, outboxes - only if you need to make a lot of calls to city Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Internet can be interesting if you are not too lazy to monitor the packet consumption. In the complex - I would not use it.


    Tariffs are one-on-one like Goodline, but they are called differently.

    European sim cards

    Well, and, perhaps, the most profitable option for the Internet in Europe is European SIM cards with connected roaming. You can go and buy yourself, you can order through the Internet from intermediaries. The most popular two options.

    Spanish Orange

    The tariff, if I am not mistaken, is called Mundo, with the Go Europe option connected.
    The rates are simple: 1 euro per 100 megabytes of traffic and 1 euro per hour of calls in the host country. For Spain, of course, the rates are separate.
    Money is withdrawn upon the use of the service, the connected package is valid until the end of the day, if not exhausted. If exhausted, it is extended.
    Card life is one year from the date of the last recharge; it is replenished from a bank card in your account. - here you can read the details and pitfalls (in English).

    Italian Vodafone

    Tariff (or option) Smart Passport.
    3 euros per day for 500 megabytes of traffic, 25 minutes of incoming and 25 minutes of outgoing calls. I don’t understand where exactly the calls are spent, but I suspect that it’s also in the host country. After 500 megabytes, the speed is limited to 32 kilobits. The subscriber is removed only if there were traffic costs or minutes. Top-up via Paypal.
    The coverage area is larger than that of Orange - except for the EU, Switzerland, Turkey, the USA, Canada and something else are added there.
    There are some difficulties with distributing the Internet to other devices, people play with different APNs. If the games were unsuccessful, then 6 is still added to 3 euros. But in general there is an Internet passport option for tablets and modems, 6 euros and gigabytes of traffic.
    Discussion on the Vinsky forum - a brief description, scroll to the EU roaming offer in the section about Vodafone.

    Of course, there are other options, but they are more designed for residents and are not sold on the Internet.
    I settled on Go Europe, I found this option more profitable. I ordered from intermediaries via, paid 3500 rubles, received 25 euros on the account. Access to your personal account is available, the card is registered to my passport data. Although, of course, this is not the only option. You can search on ebay, for example.

    As a result: for trips to Europe I recommend a bunch of the main SIM card with the service of free incoming and a European SIM card for data transfer. For outgoing, whenever possible use VoIP providers. Of course, you need either two devices, or one dual-SIM.

    UPD : Yes, I forgot to mention the site useful for travel - Enter the country in the search and see what offers there are for operators, tariffs, and what are the features in all this.

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