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Russia home to massive unlocked iPhone market

updated 11:00 am EDT, Tue April 29, 2008

Russian iPhone market

The iPhone is extremely popular in Russia despite its official absence from the country, according to multiple accounts. Analyst Eldar Murtazin of Mobile Research Group notes that there are approximately 500,000 iPhones operating in Russia, making for the third-highest number in the world after the United States and China; neither China nor Russia have had deals signed between Apple and a regional carrier. Instead, it is said to be common for Russians to travel to the US and buy phones in bulk, and then smuggle them back home for resale.

The cost of a Russian iPhone is said to be extremely high, with the 8GB model selling for at least $700, approximately $300 more than in the US; in the first days after the iPhone's American debut, some Russians were paying as much as $1,800. Modern phones must still be unlocked, and ideally equipped with a Russian language pack; while this can be done for free by skilled owners, the process can cost another $40 for the average buyer.

The principal buyers are said to be Russia's wealthy elite, including members of the Kremlin such as regional development minister Dmitry Kozak, who has been seen showing it in the company of President-Elect Dmitry Medvedev.

by MacNN Staff



  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not extremely high

    The price of $700 is inline with the American price (after all ATT kickbacks are figured in). When there is an official launch in Russia, the price won't be much lower, I'm sure. Keep in mind, iPhone's $400 price is artificially low for two reasons; first, the aforementioned ATT's kickbacks; second, extremely low value of US dollar ($1.57 for 1 EUR!!). There are two reasons why prices of goods (including the iPhone) in the US haven't gone up: the sheer size of American market for foreign manufacturers requires them to take any measure (including reducing profit margins drastically) just to maintain their presence on that market; and second, many of these brands are American brands (made in China), so they have no choice BUT stay in the 'domestic' market, at the expense of cutting (even eliminating) their profits here (and making up the difference elsewhere).I don't expect an unlocked (legal) iPhone to be more than 600 EUR (or its local currency equivalent) when it comes out elsewhere in the world.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not extremely high

    Apologies for multiple posts, but it seems your new feedback forms have an issue with the ampersand - the message is truncated from the first appearance of the sign (as seen above). Normally this wouldn't be much of a hassle, but here on a Mac (Apple) site, we often mention Apple's partners, and one of them AT and T is properly spelt with the ampersand (and looks weird without it).Can this be fixed?

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great idea!

    Since pundits and bloggers all over the Mac universe are shrieking with glee over all these unlocked phones and users who are ignoring Apple's eula I have an idea that would make Apple many more millions of dollars. Just start selling iPhones without warranties, without support, and without any means of obtaining repairs. Be up front about it. You buy it "as is" with no warranties or support supplied. Any problems? Too bad. And while they're at it why not just start selling all apple products "as is" with no warranty or support. Macs, iPods, Apple TV, iPhones, everything "as is".Would THAT finally stop the bitching and whining from the this crowd? They could do whatever they wanted with any Apple product they bought, no eula to worry about.Somehow, though, I think these losers want heir cake and to eat it too. They want Apple to have absolutely no control over their products BUT they want to be able to b**** at and sue Apple when something doesn't work to their liking.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Your new posting mechansim is showing currently for this article 8 Comments_ However - when you click to the page - only 3 Comments are shown_

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