MOSCOW, March 5 Russia's second-biggest mobile
phone operator, Megafon , said it would buy
at least 750,000 iPhones from Apple Inc over the next
three years for resale through its retail network.
Megafon signed an agreement with Apple's Russian subsidiary
in January, returning to a direct partnership with the U.S.
company after a break of several years, but did not disclose the
contract terms at the time.
Apart from guaranteeing purchases, the Russian company also
committed to spending around 1 billion roubles ($28 million) on
marketing, advertising and promotion of Apple smartphones over
the three-year period to the end of 2016, it said in a 2013
financial report released on Wednesday.
Sergei Libin, an analyst at Raiffeisen Research, said the
volumes agreed by Megafon and Apple were reasonable.
"Based on MTS' estimates, in the fourth quarter alone around
650,000 iPhones were sold in Russia. If the smartphones sales'
dynamics and iPhone's share of this market do not change
dramatically, around 8 million iPhones could be sold in Russia
during the next three years, and Megafon's share will be just
over 9 percent ... I would not say it could sell much more than
this," said Libin.
Rival Vimpelcom, which signed a direct contract with
Apple last year, declined to comment on its terms. MTS
has been buying iPhones from distributors and is
currently negotiating a deal with Apple.
"At the moment, we are discussing the terms of cooperation
that would be acceptable for both sides," MTS' spokesman said on
Apple had a 20 percent share of a more than $5 billion
Russian smartphones market in money terms, or 9 percent of units
sold in 2013, according to cellphone retailer Euroset. Apple
also sells in Russia through its online store and electronics