The iPhone is going to Russia: a few days ago, Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom announced it would be offering the Apple iPhone 3G for sale within Russia, and today Russian mobile operator MegaFon issued a one-line statement saying it would also be offering the iPhone during 2008.
Neither company has offered any further details on their plans, including availability dates or pricing. Vimpelcom markets mobile handsets under the brand name Beeline, and is the second-largest mobile operator in Russia with operators in neighboring countries including the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Armenia, and Turkmenistan. MegaFon is the third-largest mobile operator in Russia. The largest Russian mobile operator, MTS, is also expected to ink a deal with Apple for the iPhone 3G.
Although the iPhone is not officially available in Russia, the phones have become a status item via the grey market, with Russians often acquiring unlocked iPhones purchased overseas. The result might be that Russian mobile operators might have some difficulty selling legitimate iPhones, since many potential buyers might be dissuaded by only being able to use the device on one network.
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