If you’ll recall, I discussed the new .RU itunes store as well as the last major carrier (Beeline) severing direct ties with Apple in July 2013. They supported the iPhone on their networks, but didn’t want to deal with Cupertino’s “harsh conditions.” Only a couple of months ago rumors began to swell pointing to a resurgence in carrier dealings. It’s now confirmed that Megafon–Russia’s largest carrier– has committed to buying at least 750,000 iPhones from Apple over the next three years. These iPhones will then be sold through the operator’s local retail network in Russia.
That alone would be a big deal, but Megafon has also committed to spending roughly $28 million on advertising, marketing and promoting the iPhones in Russia. The budget has been earmarked for these activities and will cover the entire three year deal which culminates in the end of 2016. Russia appears to be a market increasingly opening up to iPhones. Sergei Libin, a Raiffeisen Research analyst, believes that during the next three years as many as eight million iPhones can be sold in the country.