Keeping in Touch on the Trip

On this page you will find

By Phone

The major long distance companies all have some sort of international calling plans. I recommend that you go to each website to get basic information, and then call each one several times to see if you get the same rate and access numbers. I also highly recommend that you take with you the access numbers for other companies. I ended up changing long distance plans while I was in Kazakhstan because I could not get access with the one I was on (Sprint) from Almaty. The phone lines can be very "noisy", interfering with touchtone connections, although the connected call sounded fine. I was never able to dial directly and always had to go through the operator.

Another problem is that many phones there are "pulse" dial, not touch-tone, which you need to access phone cards and make long distance calls. The solution is to buy a "pocket phone dialer" which can be found at Radio Shack, among other places. This dialer allows you to program phone numbers, company access number, etc. You then hold it up to the phone and it generates the needed tones.

In comparing the different plans, don't forget about the monthly charge. The per minute rate may be different in making calls to and from Kazakhstan. Dialaround services do not require you to change your long distance provider.

The easiest thing to do may be to rent a cell phone through Silk Road Painting external link. These people are very reliable, and can even help you set up internet access during your trip.

  • Long Distance: these are for international calling plans for your home phone
  • Some people have had success with prepaid calling cards that you can buy in the US, such as those from Walmart and Target and grocery stores. Again, I recommend that you call the company more than once to verify the access numbers, that they will work in each country and the rates. Many of the long distance companies also offer calling cards, so check them as well. You probably also want a card that you can reload while on your trip. Your facilitator in Kazakhstan may be able to help you purchase a local calling card - the i-Card+ - while there.
    • Telestial link in new window Calling Cards: No monthly fees, US to Kazakhstan 25.5¢/minute ($7.65/30 minutes).
    • Blackstone external link: not available in all states, only for calling from the US.
    • iCard external link is the calling card that you can buy in Kazakhstan from a Nursat office.
    • Pingo Phone Cards link in new window. Take 10% off your International Phone Calls with Pingo coupon int07 link in new window Pingo is easy to use. You purchase calling time with your credit card, and set up your own unique Personal Identification Number (PIN). You can bypass entering a PIN from the 10 home, business, and mobile phones you use most. You can use it to call Kazakhstan from the US, and they have a great rate.
    • Find the Lowest Pre-Paid Calling Cards ONLY at CallingCards.com link in new window: searches among hundreds of calling cards to find the best rate.
    • NobelCom [external link]

  • Call-Back Services has you call a toll-free access number (in the US), wait for a full ring and then hang up. After a few seconds (varies with provider) the phone rings, you pick it up and hear either instructions to enter your pin, or a dial tone at which time you are supposed to know to dial your pin and destination number.
    • Telestial Callback link in new window: No monthly fees, Kazakhstan to US and back 32.5¢/minute ($9.75/30 minutes).
    • Kallback external link: Kazakhstan to US 71¢/minute ($21.30/30 minutes), US to Kazakhstan $1.37/minute ($41.10/30 minutes).
    • United World Telecom external link.
    • Telcan external link: Kazakhstan to US and back 42.4¢/minute ($12.72/30 minutes).

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  • International cell phones are not a good choice for more rural areas, although coverage is improving. Check with the provider to make sure that you can use it where you are going. If you currently have a cell phone, check with your provider to see what your options are. You will need a GSM or dual-mode phone to use it overseas. Some services will allow you to use you current cell phone number. Most of these companies offer wireless service and cell phone sales/rental.

    If you want to purchase a phone, be sure to get one that is GSM or tri/quad-band in order to use it overseas. You might also want one that is "unlocked", enabling you to put in a SIM card that you can buy in Kazakhstan. Most of these stores sell unlocked phones. For an excellent guide to international cell phones, see a series of articles from The Travel Insider external link.


  • Satellite Phones: rentals and call rates are not cheap, but they work almost everywhere. These companies offer only satellite service. Look for companies that provide both cell and satellite service in the above section.

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Internet

Boingo Wireless external link provdes software technology and roaming services that allow you to access hot spots in hotels and airports with your laptop (Windows and Macintosh), smartphone, and Pocket PC.

Make cheap international calls with Skype: Make and receive calls to ordinary phones with your computer, Skype to Skype calls are always free. Yes, this does work in Kazakhstan as well, calls to there are $0.20 to landlines ans $0.21 to cell phones. Your success will depend upon the internet connection.

Your facilitator will be the best source for you, from setting up internet service in your hotel/apartment, or helping you to locate the nearest internet cafe.

Nursat external link is the biggest internet provider in Kazakhstan. Excord Wireless external link internet from Nursat is new, available in Almaty, Astana and Aktobe.

Almaty

  • Almaty Expats external link lists internet access sites with rates and hours.
  • Internet Center on 42 Timiryazeva St., Pavilion #1, Second Floor
  • Republic Palace.
  • Tet-a tet, 31 Baitursynov St., corner of Kazybek-Bi, 32-64-56>
  • Stalker on 20 Tole Bi between Zenkove and Dostyk, 91-20-46
  • Cafe on 122 Furmanov St., corner of Vinogradova, 60-88-60
  • Pizzeria Venezia : 87 Dostyk St.
  • Almaty Alumni Resource Center, 76 Karmysov St., (3272) 919 654
  • Almaty National Library, 14 Abai Ave. @ Abylai Khan St., 62-65-07, 62-80-95
  • Arena, Seifullin and Gogol, across the street from the Kazakhstan movie theater
  • Elite, 4 Utepova @ Zharokova, 93-34-50
  • Glotur, 1st floor of Ramstore, 226 Furmanova, 58-76-24
  • Kazakhtelecom Service Bureau, 100 Zhibek Zholy, near TSUM, 33-55-70
  • M@trix Internet Cafe, 52 Abai @ Baizakov (climb staircase next to entrance of Institute's of International Business), 50-32-50, highly recommended by Almaty Expats.
  • Net-Club Internet, 167 Auezov south of Bukhar Zhirau, 44-87-03
  • Tumar Internet Cafe, TSUM department store at Zhibek Zholy and Abylai Khan between first and second floors in new wing, 50-91-59

Other cities: I am sure that there are more than what I have listed. Please e-mail me [e-mail link] if you know of others.

  • Aqtobe: Proxy, 69 Abulhair Khana Ave.
  • Aktobe IATP Pubsite: 34 Moldagulova St., room 103, Aktobe State Zhubanov University, 54-84-44
  • Astana IATP Pubiste: 6 Tsiolkovskogo St., room 186, Eurasia University, 353739
  • Astana: Turan University, 66/5 Pushikina St., room 301, 39-80-08
  • Atyrau IATP Pubsite: 42 Azattyk St., 1st floor, 25-51-86
  • Atyrau City Library: 13 Satpaeva St.
  • Karaganda IATP Pubsite: Karaganda State University, 38 Gogol St., Soros EAC/IATP, 55-36-21
  • Karaganda: Net City external link
  • Karaganda: Navigator Internet cafe, 3 Abdirov Ave., 40-90-03
  • Kyzylorda: Junior Achievment NGO, 2 Aiteke-bi St., 6-19-07
  • Pavlodar: NetCafe, 136 Dzerzhinsky St., 3d story, in Kazakh.
  • Petropavlovsk, 161 Kirova St., in Kazakh
  • Petropavlovsk IATP Pubsite: 25 Constitution St., North Kazakhstan Regional Library, 46-96-06
  • Semey: Frondy, 14 Shakerin Prospect, Shopping centre "Semipalat"
  • Semey: Universal Scientific Library, 86 Abai St., 62-92-33
  • Shymkent: Regional Youth Library, 21a Gogol St., 53-98-88
  • Shymkent IATP Pubsite: 5 Tauke-Khan St. @ Bailtursynova St., Soros Foundation, 21-46-07
  • Taraz: Navigator
  • Taraz IATP Pubsite: 60 Tole bi St. @ Zheltoksan St., room 106, Taraz State University, 44-34-61
  • Taraz: Taraz State University, 28 Satpaev St., 43-34-61
  • Turkestan City Library, Sattara Yerubayeva, room 1, 4-14-37
  • Uralsk: East Kazakh Regional Scientific Universal Library, 47 Kirov St., second floor, 50-75-49; 191 Dostyk-Druzhba Ave. (? open 24 hours); 88 Eurasia Street
  • Ust-Kamenogorsk IATP Pubsite: 102 Ushanova St., room 1, Pushkin Library, 26-39-46
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Page last updated on 19 December 2009.

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