Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Apple's iPhone has had a tough go of it in Russia, where traditional carrier subsidies have been largely ignored in favor of prepaid handsets. Can Cupertino regroup and attack the problem from another direction?
TechCrunch reported Monday that Apple may be readying a new Russian invasion for the iPhone, after carriers there abandoned the handset in favor of Windows Phone 8 and Android models earlier this year.
According to sources, top Apple executives are in Russia this week to "meet with key distributors" to figure out a better way for the company to offer its coveted handset that may or may not involve the lucrative carrier subsidies Cupertino has enjoyed elsewhere since the original iPhone was released in 2007.
“Apple is coming to town to talk to different retailers,” one source revealed. “There is going to be a discussion about getting more active in Russia with the iPhone. I assume the discussions will include models that will be launched here."
Those discussions are likely to involve the so-called low-cost "iPhone 5C" widely rumored to be launched next month, which is expected to be Apple's solution to bulk up its numbers in countries like Russia, where prepaid accounts far outnumber those of postpaid contracts that are common in the U.S. and other countries.
For now, the iPhone is being sold through a single distributor, Svyaznoy, with the latest iPhone 5 model sold for 27,990 rubles without subsidy -- roughly $849, which is more than the unlocked model sold in the U.S., but a bit cheaper than Russians pay to buy direct from Apple's online store in the country.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently confirmed that 80 percent of Russian iPhones are sold at retail instead of carrier-owned stores, and despite the higher price, the problem is less about cost and more about inventory.
“Oh, the iPhone sells very well in Russia," one unnamed distributor remarked. "The problem is getting the stock."
Maybe not for much longer…?
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of ModMyi.com)