You'll find out real fast Bow, when you try to use your phone and some lady starts talking in a language you don't understand...that there is a problem. I could have swarn I was back in ukraine in less than 6 months time between some visits. It is strange, you don't lose time(money) but have to recharge anyway, think I was up to ~240 hryvnia but still had to recharge with I think was a 25 hryvnia card. Last time I was there, my mtc(??) card still worked with no recharging.
Seems there are lots of guys in ukraine late april, meet up with peteb in kiev for a few days and last week of april in odessa
Interesting thing about Ukraine sim cards - particularly MTS.
I met a my lady in April of 2006 and naturally brought a compatible phone and bought an MTS (then UMC) sim card. We often messaged (SMS) each other. I was surprised to find that I was still able to receive messages when I was waiting for my connecting flight in Germany. Even more suprised when I was able to receive such messages in Chicago and eventually in my home town of Green Bay.
I currently leave my "Ukrainian phone" connected to a charger and in my home office with my Ukrainian sim card still inside. All she had to do is send me an SMS as if I was still in Ukraine and I get it on my phone. Its a cheap (practically free) method oif communication that I never anticipated.
Further - in emergencies - either my Ukrainian lady - or the one from Moldova are able to CALL me on my Ukrainian phone - after which of course I call them back from my home land-based line.
Who would have ever thought that I could get messages so easily and cheaply from their GSM 900 and 1800 systems - when we in America only use the 800 and 1900 frequencies?
One thing - for whatever reason, I have discovered that I am generally unsuccessful at sending SMS messages from my Ukraine phone, while in the US and in Green Bay. I have to depend on the MTC website - which offers free SMS service - though I'm limited to shorter messages than once can similarly send by mobile phone.
It might have something to do with my being in Green Bay and perhaps limited servic here - because while in a hotel room in Chicago on my last return I was able to send an SMS from my Ukraine phone directly to her with no problem.
Guys, my girlfriend told me (she is from Ukraine) that such sim cards as mtc or kievstar are being active only for half a year if you are not using it. Such sim as life can be active for 1 year but quality connection is rather bad.
Now you can buy sim there for 25UAH and get 25 already on your account. You can buy them everywhere in mobile shops or they have such small red stalls where you can buy sim cards and fill your account.
sim cards are easy to get on the Internet and even cheeper when there. some of the new cell phones hold 2 sim cards and have quad band. I think the going rate on ebay is juust over 100 usd with shipping
I've been using the same Kyivstar card for some time now (I think it's a Djuice), and it stays active for 1 year after recharging the account. I've had more difficulty in Russia - the SIMs expire sooner, and I don't go as often as I do to Ukraine. But I'm now using a Beeline (don't remember which tariff) which is good for 6 months after each USE (at least, that's what the guy in a mobile-stuff shop in Moscow told me), so I sent an SMS with this card last time I was in Ukraine, which should keep it alive.
Fortunately, the Kyivstar works in Russia (which saved my butt one time, because my Russian SIM wasn't working), of course with some kind of expensive roaming rates, and it is very nice that my Russian Beeline works in Ukraine. Before, I used Russian Megafon cards that were completely inoperative outside of Russia.
Because Beeline and MTC sell SIM cards in both countries, they probably offer the best deals for someone who wants to use the same card in both places, but I haven't investigated this. The companies usually offer many different plans (tariffs) for pay-as-you-go SIMs, and I have yet to see a written chart explaining their differences in English.