VimpelCom Admits Interest in Possible iPhone Development in Russia
Russia mobile operator VimpelCom has confirmed that it would be interested in selling Apple's iPhone if and when the product reaches Russia.
Company Chief Executive Alexander Izosimov is quoted by BusinessWeek.com as confirming that VimpelCom is keen to sell the iPhone, although no negotiations are taking place. He also voiced his relief that Apple has modified its strategy, from previously taking a percentage of carriers' service revenues to now obtaining revenue through the sales of phones themselves. Izosimov described Apple's current strategy as "a much more natural model".
Significance: Apple typically agrees a deal with only one operator in any given country, and although it is not certain that such an approach will be pursued in Russia, it is clear that VimpelCom will have to compete with rival operators Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and MegaFon, with the latter already having already revealed that it is in talks with Apple. Izosimov has predicted that smartphones will gain popularity as mobile internet becomes increasingly prevalent in Russia. He also noted that such devices, boasting advanced capabilities, naturally encourage greater data usage—and therefore greater revenue generation—amongst customers. This gives operators an incentive to corner the Russian iPhone market.
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