updated 10:10 am EDT, Wed October 23, 2013
MTS to go through third-party distributors
Russian carriers MTS and VimpelCom will resume selling the iPhone on October 25th, says Reuters. All three major local carriers -- the continuing holdout being Megafon -- stopped direct sales of the iPhone earlier this year, as they chose not renew their contracts with Apple. The Russian government doesn't allow cellphone subsidies, and given the high cost of the iPhone, that put the device out of reach for many people. Apple, meanwhile, was demanding strict sales volumes and marketing budgets.
MTS and VimpelCom will begin selling the iPhone 5s and 5c on October 25th. Only VimpelCom, though, has actually signed a new contract with Apple. MTS is instead buying phones through distributors, though in a statement it says it hasn't ruled out the possibly of going back to a direct contract. A Reuters source explains that by going with distributors, MTS can spend as much or as little as it wants on buying and promoting iPhones.
Apple occupies a relatively small share of the Russian smartphone market. During the first half of 2013, only 8.7 percent of sales were iPhones.