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iPhone in Russia, few sales; Apple at loggerheads with operators

In Russia, the red alarm sounds for mobile operators and the emergency is triggered by the poor iPhone sales that cannot even bring closer the estimated and fixed sales in the contracts stipulated with Apple.

To provide the Unwiredreview bankruptcy figures; the site that has solid ties to the world of technology in the east of Europe and which cites Russian sources for the occasion, estimates that just 400 thousand phones have been purchased since Vimpelcom, MTS and Megafon signed the contract with Apple in the fall. The figure becomes even more disappointing if we consider that only 280,000 arrived in the channels and that just 127,000 are actually sold. That sales are disappointing certified by the forecasts, put in black and white, by the three operators when on the occasion of the pact with Cupertino: Vimpelcom and Megafon agreed to buy a total of 3 million iPhones in two years, MTS another million in three years . As if to say that the operators together should sell 1.8 million iPhones in the largest European country in a year and that currently about six months after the launch, the phones actually sold, according to the figures of Unwiredreview, are around 7% of the forecasts . The projections set in an unsold 'warehouse' (the improper name because Apple probably won't have actually delivered the products) of more than two million iPhones at the end of the first year.

If this situation were to mature, the three operators will find themselves in need of paying very high penalties in Cupertino. The possibility would have already been ventilated to the shareholders but to avoid what could be a real drain, Vimpelkom, Mts and Megafon would be trying to obtain a relaxation of the terms in the form of a reduction in the mandatory quantities or the cost of the iPhone but up to today Apple would not have moved a millimeter away from its positions. The Apple, in fact, would be looking for alternatives in case the battle were to come to a close, for example directly selling iPhones in some department stores. To date, this road would be closed by conditions deemed unacceptable dictated by Apple to the resellers themselves.

The hard face of Cupertino would be due to the fact that if even the three operators had to turn off the taps and cancel the agreement and iPhone would not go to the shelves of the major retailers, Apple could still take advantage of the flourishing gray market that had already done before the official launch Russia's main unlocking country (one million iPhone EDGE sold on parallel channels).

But the operators are not there and are preparing to counterattack. As part of the negotiations, the managers of the three carriers would have made it clear that if there is a suspension of the contract, their technicians will do everything they can to 'kill' the ability of unlocked iPhones to use local mobile phone networks.