MTS to go through third-party distributors
Russian carriers MTS and VimpelCom will resume selling the iPhone on October 25th, says Reuters. All three major local carriers -- the continuing holdout being Megafon -- stopped direct sales of the iPhone earlier this year, as they chose not renew their contracts with Apple. The Russian government doesn't allow cellphone subsidies, and given the high cost of the iPhone, that put the device out of reach for many people. Apple, meanwhile, was demanding strict sales volumes and marketing budgets.
VimpelCom to buy Wind Mobile for $6 billion
Russian cellphone provider VimpelCom on Thursday announced plans to acquire Canadian cell carrier Wind Mobile. The $6 billion deal would likely conclude in the first half of 2011 and result in the fifth-largest provider in the world, with 173 million subscribers. Egypt-based Orascom is owned by VimpelCom and also has a significant share in Wind.
Russian iPhone on Oct. 3rd
The iPhone should go on sale in Russia October 3rd, Reuters reports. Nadezhda Senyuk, a PR director for Russia's Tekhnosila retail chain, explains that several retailers should begin selling the iPhone overnight between October 2nd and 3rd. Two other retailers, Eldorado and M.video, have confirmed Senyuk's statements by issuing separate announcements of an October 3rd sell date. Eldorado says it expects total iPhone sales in the country to reach 150,000 for 2008, out of which Eldorado hopes to claim 15,000.
Unlocked Russian iPhones
Although pricing information was not mentioned, Russia-based Vimpelcom on Monday announced it would offer the iPhone with no subsidy, since Russian law dictates that locked phone are illegal. Reuters reveals that Vimpelcom CEO Alexander Izosimov confirmed the move at the Reuters Russia Investment Summit, continuing upon an official launch confirmation in late August. An estimated half-million unlocked iPhone handsets already see use by Russians.
MTS iPhones for Russia
Russia's top cellular carrier, Mobile TeleSystems, today announced it has successfully negotiated with Apple and will soon be offering the iPhone, according to the Associated Press. This confirms speculation that Apple would be making deals with all three major Russian carriers, as the company signed deals with Vimpelcom and MegaFon earlier this week.
Megafon gets iPhone
Russia's third-largest telecom firm, Megafon, has announced that it has reached an agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone 3G, making it the second carrier in the country to offer the device. The company has not yet committed to any particular release date, but has announced in a statement that the iPhone will be available "later this year."
VimpelCom Gets iPhone
Russian telecoms firm VimpelCom today said it has struck an agreement with Apple to carry the iPhone 3G, making it the first carrier in the country officially set to offer the device. The telecoms firm follows the practices of earlier carrier announcements and doesn't commit to a particular release date, saying only that it would have the device "later this year."
Russian iPhone deals near?
Apple is nearing an agreement to sell the iPhone in Russia, says Vedomosti. The regional publication cites inside sources, who claim that two out of the three major cellular carriers in Russia -- Megafon and VimpelCom -- are on the verge of signing a deal to distribute the iPhone. The only stumbling block at present is said to be bulk orders, as Apple may want carriers to accept unusually large quantities of the phone all at once -- between 1 to 1.5 million units each, for a total of 3 to 4.5 million for the whole country.