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Calling Russian cell phoneCalling a cell phone in Russia is basically the same as calling a regular landline Russian number.  Some confusion might arise due to the extra digits and symbols you might encounter in a Russian mobile number.  Once you understand the basic principle of cell phone numbers used in the Russian Federation you will have no problem calling it from USA, Canada, or any other country.  In addition, Russia Cards offers special search tools for you to find the exact rates and savings on calls to Russian cell phones from overseas.

  1. Find a best phone card for calling cell phones in Russia.  On Russia Cards you find the exact rates on calls to mobile Russian numbers as they are different from the rates to a regular landline phone.
  2. Purchase the phone card and follow the instructions.
  3. Dial the Russian mobile number you wish to call.  Refer to the dialing instructions below.

Dialing a cell phone number in Russia is the same as dialing a regular land line number:
011-7-Area Code-Number

Simple steps to make an international call to a mobile phone in Russia

When prompted to enter the number you wish to call follow the basic rules of dialing a regular phone number in Russia:
011-7-Area Code-Number.  Note that in this instance the correct term for the Area Code is actually Federal Code.  Refer to the info below on the significance of Federal Codes in connection with cell phone usage in Russia.  For more help on how to dial a number in Russia when calling from overseas refer to the directions how to make calls to Russia from USA.

Important: a Russian cell phone number might contain symbols not used when dialing internationally.  Ignore the digit 8 (eight) and the plus (+) if they appear before the area (federal) code.

The 8 is used for calls inside Russia.  The plus sign in a phone number is used when dialing from a Russian cell phone.  Both instances have nothing to do with international calls to Russia thus when you dial a number you simply drop them.

About the Federal Codes in Russian cell phone numbers

In the United States cell phone numbers use the same area code as the local numbers.  In Russia mobile phones do not share the same area codes as the land lines.  This has to do with the different ways mobile communications are set up in the US and Russia. 

Current lowest rate on international calls to a Russian mobile number:

In America local calls from a land line to a cell phone within the same area code are free for the person calling from a land line.  The person receiving the call on a mobile phone has to pay for the call.  In Russia it is the calling party that pays for the call.  The incoming calls on a Russian cell phone are free.  Thus in effect a person making a call from a land line to a cell phone in Russia has to dial a different area code and thus has to pay for long distance.

To distinguish mobile numbers from regular landline phone numbers in Russia there a system in place that uses what is called Federal Codes.  As the name suggests they are not tied down to one region.  Thus a person living in St. Petersburg might have  a phone number with the same Federal Code as a person living in Moscow.

What can you tell from a Russian Federal phone code

Federal Codes do not tell you where the person using a cell phone resides in Russia thus we cannot apply the name 'area code' though the Federal Code does tell which mobile communications provider a person is using.  In other words, each cell phone company in Russia - Beeline, MTS, etc. - has it's own Federal Code.

Why does it cost more to call a cell phone number in Russia

As it has been mentioned above, unlike in the United States, it is the party that is making a phone call to a cell phone that has to pay for the call, while the incoming calls are free.  Whether you call a mobile number from a land line in Russia or making a call to a Russian mobile phone from the US or any other country it is you, the calling party, that has to pay extra.

How can you tell whether the number you calling in Russia is a mobile number

Russian cell phone area code begins with a 9 (nine)

One of the advantages of having special Federal codes for the Russian cell phone numbers is your ability to distinguish them from a regular land line.  You cannot do it easily in the United States, for example, where the same area codes are used for both mobile and regular land line numbers, though through some research you can distinguish a cell number by the prefix used.

In Russia it is much easier to spot a mobile number.  The area code (Federal Code) begins with a nine (9).  Here is a list of the current Federal Codes assigned to mobile phone companies in Russia.  If the number you are calling has one of the following 'area' codes then it is a cell number:
901, 902, 903, 910, 911, 912, 914, 916, 918, 921, 922, 923, 924, 926, 927, 928, 929, 930, 931, 932, 933, 934, 936, 937, 938, 950, 951, 952, 953, 960, 961, 962, 963, 964, 965, 980, 981, 982, 983, 984, 985, 987, 988, 989, 997.