Nizhny Novgorod (Russian: Ни́жний Но́вгород), colloquially shortened as Nizhny, is the fourth largest city of Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk. Population: 1,297,600 (2005). It is the economic and cultural center of the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and also the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Volga Federal District.
From 1932 to 1990 the city was known as Gorky (Го́рький), named after the writer Maxim Gorky. After the fall of Soviet Union, the old name was brought back.
If you are planning to spend in Russia more than several days and you are going to communicate with your Russian colleagues by mobile (and send SMS to your home country) it would be reasonable not to spend on roaming and to buy a local SIM-card. There are five GSM networks in the city: three major Russian mobile networks ("big three": MTS, Beeline and Megafon), Tele 2 and NSS (HCC). Also there is a network working in AMPS/DAMPS standard and there was one in NMT-450 (not sure if it's still there). The prepaid tariffs are more or less the same in all GSM networks. A SIM-card can be purchased in numerous shops, kiosks, and special salons. Usually it costs you just to pay some 3 or 4$ for your future calls.
However if you come to Nizhny Novgorod with a SIM-card bought in Moscow or St.Petersburg be aware that you will be charged higher prices for your calls since providers consider this as inner-Russian roaming (basically the country is divided in several huge roaming zones). Mobile numbers registered in Nizhny Novgorod are of the Volga region zone.
There are payphones in the streets however you can buy phonecards only in the post-offices and in few newspaper kiosks.
There are several wi-fi spots for free internet access in the city. For example, there is wi-fi coverage in "Shokolad" (Chocolade) shopping-mall in Belinsky Str.
In the Upper city (Nagornaya chast'):
In the lower city (Zarechnaya chast'):