Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is seeing some major traction in Russia. Apple has seen sales in Russia double last year to 1.57 million units, bringing in around $1 billion, according to IDC. This is a big deal because at midyear, none of the three wireless carriers were selling Apple phones in Russia.
Apple asked carriers in Russia to cover the costs of subsidizing and promoting the iPhone. This is how Apple does business in the U.S. and other developed markets. Russia has laws that prevent phone companies from discounting devices in exchange for long contracts though. Apple has minimum sales terms as part of their agreements as well. Russian carriers found Apple’s terms to be burdensome.
Apple is now distributing iPhones through electronics stores like Svyaznoy. This chain is estimated to have sold around 700,000 Apple phones last year. Most of the phones sold were older iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s models priced below $500.
Since Apple found other means to sell their devices, the mobile carriers started to restore their ties with the iPhone giant. MegaFon resumed their contract to sell iPhones last month after a three year hiatus. Mobile TeleSystems and VimpelCom also put iPhones back on the shelves in October.