updated 03:05 pm EDT, Mon August 4, 2008
iPhones in Russia for 2009
Sales of the iPhone in Russia will begin next year, a regional site reports. Vedomosti says it has received the information from Yevgeny Butman, the Moscow director of Apple IMC, which in turn is Apple's authorized distributor for Russia. Although few details are available, carrier Megafona is already claiming to be in negotiations to become a non-exclusive partner, likely competing alongside other Russian phone companies for a share of the iPhone market.
Reaching Russia has been a major goal for Apple, with CEO Steve Jobs suggesting that the iPhone could go on sale there as soon as late 2008. The country is currently home to a massive gray market, with an estimated 500,000 or more devices having been imported unofficially. This is believed to make Russia one of the highest concentration of iPhone users in the world, even though people must often pay extremely high fees to acquire the device and install special language support.