updated 10:01 am EST, Mon January 27, 2014
Carrier went without iPhones for four years
Russian carrier Megafon has announced a direct, three-year deal with Apple to resume selling iPhones, Reuters reports. Despite being Russia's second-biggest cellphone provider, it hasn't sold iPhones since 2009, since both it and its rivals couldn't guarantee the kind of sales numbers Apple was demanding in contracts. Megafon says it will buy various iPhone models under the deal.
MTS and Vimpelcom resumed iPhone sales in October, although only Vimpelcom had signed a new contract with Apple. Going an alternate route, MTS has decided to buy iPhones from distributors.
Apple has struggled to gain ground in Russia. Because cellphone subsidies are illegal in the country, the iPhone has to be sold at full price, making it unaffordable for many people. Although Apple took 20 percent of Russian smartphone revenue in 2013, that only translated into 9 percent of units.