What are the basic need of every tourist? A warm bed, tasty meals and free wi-fi. And while the first two are not a problem in Belarus, free public internet is more hard to find.
Here’s a list of places where you can connect to Wi-Fi in different parts of Minsk.
Roaming has to be on
Getting ahead of the topic, we’d like to point out the following: to register in most of the existing wi-fi networks, you’ll be asked to insert your mobile phone number. After you do it, you’ll receive an sms with a code to connect.
So it seems logical that travelers will have to think of switching on roaming before they arrive to Belarus. A code sms is free, but you just won’t get it unless you’re the roaming option is active.
Minsk Airport: 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi
We bet that if you try to find free internet in Minsk airport without reading this article first, you’ll most certainly fail to do so!
Well simply because unlike in other airport where Wi-Fi spots have obvious names like “airport-name-free”, the one in Minsk is called BELTELECOM.
Anyway, this seems to be the only catch. There should be not be other problems – after you choose to connect to it, you’ll see a pop-up window with tariffs and a phone number box.
Free connection includes 15 minutes, which seems to be enough to notify your family about a soft landing, check the social networks and call a taxi.
Moving on to the city
Arriving from the airport to Minsk, you will most likely find yourself at the central railway or central bus stations.
Passengers of the Central Railway station have two open networks at their disposal.
One of them, RW, serves only for accessing the official site of Belarusian railways. You can check the train schedule and other useful information there. The other one is a paid Wi-Fi network BELTELECOM.
The Central Bus station offers a free Wi-Fi network called Avtovoksal Wi-Fi iGo FREE.
The network does not require neither a phone number nor password and provides rather fast connection speed – 3.78 Mbps of incoming traffic and 0.57 Mbps of the outcoming one.
Shopping with Wi-Fi
Most of the popular shopping areas in Minsk offer free Wi-Fi but there may be some problems with connection.
Out of many Wi-Fi networks in Stolitsa shopping mall, only two are public – BELTELECOM network and STOLICA FREE WI-FI.
Authorization in STOLICA FREE WI-FI will require a phone number, to which you’ll receive an sms with a code. The start page is available in English, and a foreign phone number can be used to connect.
But do not expect a high speed here – after all, the shopping centre is located underground 🙂
GUM gives its customers an access to Gum Free Wifi with authorization through sms. The speed is modest, but there are no problems with connection.
TSUM provides an open network BELTELECOM WIFI, but here problems with internet access are more likely.
Be sure about a nice Instagram shot from the Komarovka market – just connect to the recently launched KOMAROVKA FREE Wi-Fi network. The connection is currently available on the territory of the indoor pavilion and is free one hour. Taking into account the number of customers at the market, the speed of the Internet is rather good.
No Wi-Fi in Opera and Library
We failed to find any free Wi-Fi in or around the Opera and Ballet Theatre. So it would be a better idea to check the schedule of upcoming performances or to book the ticket through internet from somewhere else.
No stable connection was spotted in the Victory Square either. Most visible networks are closed, while the public network of BELTELECOM seemed to refuse all attempts to connect to it.
The National Library offers two public Wi-Fi networks. One of them, NLB_Readers, is for authorised users only; the other one is BELTELECOM’s Wi-Fi.
However, the latter allows authorization only for MTS and Velcom subscribers or with the password from a Wi-Fi byfly card that can be bought at newspaper kiosks, post offices or BELTELECOM sales points.
Why so? Well probably because one is supposed to be reading in a library!
A lot of Internet near bars
Those who hang out in Zybickaya street will most certainly find free W-Fi without any problem.
In some bars internet sports will ask you to type your phone number to get a code via sms, in others no authorization is required.
Also, there are bars and cafes where you’ll need to ask for a password from a waiter or bartender.
The number of public Wi-Fi spots in Minsk is growing steadily. In many popular places a foreigner will be able to connect even without a Belarusian sim-card.
Moreover, foreign tourists won’t even need help from Belarusian friends as most web pages are translated into English.
The only drawback may be the Internet speed. While places like cafes and bars offer rather quick connection, other sports may be more snailish.
The original version of this article in Russian is available at 42.TUT.BY.