A few months back it was rumored that Russia’s second largest mobile operator, Megafon, could start selling the iPhones once again after breaking off its previous deal with Apple. Megafon announced today that it 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.
Megafon had actually signed the contract with Apple’s Russian subsidiary back in January. Megafon hasn’t disclosed the contract terms. It has rebuilt its relationship with Cupertino after shunning one of the world’s most popular smartphones for a few years. The deal goes beyond just purchasing a ton of iPhones from Apple. 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. The iPhone already has a substantial footprint in the Russian smartphone market, accounting for 9 percent of all units sold last year.