The first mobile phones got to Irkutsk in 1995, but people started using them on a regular basis only in the early 2000s. Only two companies offered their services, and so, mobile communications cost a lot, and connection quality wasn’t that good.

Over the years, everything changed. You could use your mobiles in the remote regions of Irkutsk Oblast, and even in some places around Lake Baikal. The bigger towns have 3G and 4G, and GPRS is everywhere now.

To always stay connected, turn on roaming services or buy a local SIM card as soon as you get to Irkutsk.

Before you buy a SIM card, make sure that your phone supports the local communication standard. Most commonly it’s GSM 900/1800 (European standard), or, rarely, CDMA (American standard). The same phone cannot be used for both communication standards. One and the same telephone can not be used for both standards. It’s better to use GSM because, unlike CDMA, GSM is supported everywhere in Russia.

Mobile network operator and their tariffs

Today, Irkutsk has four major mobile operator companies. Those are state-wide providers MTS, Beeline and MegaFon, and a local company BWC.

These companies charge similar amounts of money for their services. For your convenience we’re providing this comparative table of their minimum rates.


Tariff name


More information

MTS Smart mini 150 rubles/month 1 GB Internet
1000 minutes/month
Beeline All for 100 Promo 100 rubles/month 500 MB Internet
100 minutes/day within the network
0,7 rubles/minute outside the network
MegaFon All included XS 99 rubles/month 1 GB Internet, 3G+
minutes a month within the network
0,3 rubles/minute outside the network
Tele2 Black 95 rubles/month 1,5 GB Internet
free-of-charge calls to Tele2 numbers in Irkutsk Oblast

Buy a new SIM card here:

  • MTS: 36/2, Dzerzhinsky St.
  • Beeline: 6, Deputatskaya St.
  • MegaFon: 2, Uritski St.
  • BWC: 25, Lenin St.

Additionally, Irkutsk has several mobile connection shops like Svyaznoy, Evroset’ and Govorun. You’ll find them in a mall near the Central Market, on 17, Litvinova St.

Wi-Fi in Irkutsk

The city has around 80 Wi-Fi spots, and you can use 50 of them free of charge. Many cafes and hotels have a network name and its password in the menu or at a bar counter. If you have a problem connecting to Wi-Fi, ask the staff and they’ll make sure everything works properly.

Here’s a list of some Wi-Fi spots in local cafes and hotels.

City center:

  • Promsvyaz’bank, 12, Proletarskaya St.;
  • House Mafia, 107A, Dekabrski’ Sobitiy St.;
  • Courtyard Mariott Hotel, 15/2, Chkalov St.;
  • Dostoevsky Anticafé, 12, Stepan Razin St.;
  • Traveller’s Coffee, 7, Kievskaya St.;
  • Razguloff Coffee Shop, 34, Karl Marx St.;
  • Tower Restaurant, 29, Karl Marx St.;
  • Harat’s pub, 1, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya St.;
  • Sushi Studio, 18, Karl Marx St.;
  • Bier Haus, 1, Gryaznov St.;
  • Papa John’s pizza house, 48, Marat St.;
  • The London Club, 7, Sukhe-Bator St..

The East Bank:

  • Lermontov Mall, 90/1, Lermontov St.;
  • Safari pizza house, 15, Mayakovski St.;
  • Harat’s pub, 30, Akademicheskaya St.;
  • Harat’s pub, 26, Universitetski Md.;
  • Harat’s pub, 81, Lermontov St.;
  • Park-hotel Burduguz, Burduguz village, 1, Lesnaya St..

To see the closest free Wi-Fi spot available, download the WI-FI Free app on your iPhone or the Free Zone app on your Android phone.


Leave a Reply