Phones and internet of all sorts
All right - let's get the main points covered:
a) yes, there are mobile phones here (GSM/UMTS standard and some others) as well as normal phones (good old ground copper-wire lines).
b) yes, you can access internet here (the way of doing it depends on location and cash you're willing to spend for it). And for those of you who's been hyped about Skype, yes, if the connection is decent Skype works pretty much nicely.
c) yes, there are hotspots for your Wi-Fi enabled notebook or PDA (many are not free yet, but the trend is really favorable and many places start doing hotspots for free).
We'd also like to note - that English knowledge rate here is somewhere like 10%, somewhere better for youngsters and totally worse for older people. Which means talking over phone or even chatting and emailing to locals can be tricky.
Now, let's get down to the details.
Something like half of apartments and absolute majority of offices have the normal phones. Russia's code is +7 or 007 for dialing from abroad. Novosibirsk's code is 383. Novosibirsk's phonenumbers are 7 digits now. Recently they were 6 digits, and the city code was 3832. So, if you have some old record of telephone number, it will most likely look like xx-xx-xx. The way of deciphering it into new xxx-xx-xx format is this if the first digit was 1 or 2 - add 2 as new first digit. If the first digit was 3 and higher - add 3 as new first digit. Example - old number of 11-11-11 is now 211-11-11. Old number 44-44-44 is now 344-44-44. Hope you got it. So, to dial from abroad you should dial +7 383 xxx-xx-xx.
Dialing your home country on fixed line is different - normally you have to dial 8 (wait for tone) - 10 and THEN your country code+area or network code+phonenumber. So, calling for example UK would be - 8 10 44 xxxx xx-xx-xx. Doing same from the mobile phone is plain easy - 'plus'+your country code+area or network code+phonenumber. Dialing UK would be +44 xxxx xx-xx-xx.
There are 4 GSM-900/1800 operators here, one of CDMA-450. Most obvious choice is GSM - these are national carriers (Beeline, MTS, Megafon, Tele2), with roaming available in most regions of Russia (restrictions and rules apply).
Two of the operators, Beeline and MTS, launched recently their 3G subnetworks (UMTS standards), which greatly helped the internet speed when accessing via mobile network.
You can either use your GSM phone here in roaming (if on short visit) or obtain local SIM-card and use it while in Novosibirsk which is way cheaper. There is no point to write here on 'where you can get a SIM-card' cause the answer is 'basically everywhere'. The market is growing vastly, and it is huge industry, so nearly on every corner you can get a contract with any of the operators or buy the paycards (sorry, forgot to mention, most of them operate on pay-as-you-go basis, contracts are mostly for companies).
Depends on where you are.
There is also growing industry of ADSL and leased line market, so the chances are your apartment might be within the range one or another network is covered with ADSL or leased line availability. The same you can do at the office, though most office buildings offer leased line connection to the internet, check around or ask in neighbouring offices.
You can also use GPRS/EDGE/3G (GSM subsystem), to access internet from your PC using your GSM phone as modem (the phone should be GPRS/EDGE- or 3G-enabled) or buying specifically 3G-modem for that. Speed is a little slower than dial-up on GPRS/EDGE, but compensates by mobility - can surf from office, home, cafe etc. And if you connect to 3G network - it works wonders, and the speed is great.
There is a CDMA analog to GPRS/EDGE - and it works faster, comparable to 3G. The operator is called SkyLink.
And talking about cafes and internet - the hot spot outbreak is only in the beginning phase here. So there are some places where internet is available via Wi-Fi, BUT in most cases it would be on fee basis. The following places offer free Wi-Fi:
Bars/Restaurants/Fastfoods - IL-Patio, People's, Grill-Master, Classica, Galereya Coffe, Tinkoff, Vostok-Zapad, Mangusta, Kara-Kum, Depo, Sushi-Terra, NYP, Traveller's Coffee, Zhili-Byli, Terek, Champivon, Western, Beloye Solntse Pustyni.
Other places - Veselaya Keglya (bowling), Public Library GPNTB, Planeta Kino, Pioneer, Aurora (cinemas), Main Railway Station, Lesnaya Skazka, Ob (hotels).
May be there others, may be for free or for less, but we're not aware of them.
If you have any comments, suggestions, ideas, please email us. Your feedback is very important.
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