The iPhone 5 officially went on sale in Russia on 14th December last year. In total, 25,000 iPhone 5 devices were sold in the first 3 days. By comparison, more than 2 million iPhone 5 devices were sold in China, during the first 3 days since launch. The iPhone 5 is sold by mobile operator, Beeline, retailer of Apple products, re:Store, mobile phone retailers Svyaznoy and Euroset.
The Quinture blog blames this low distribution on the high price.
The official retail price of iPhone 5 in Russia (unlocked and contract-free) starts from 28,900 Roubles ($941) for 16GB model, 34,900 Roubles ($1,136) for 32GB model and 39,900 Roubles ($1,300) for 64GB model. In Russia, iPhone 5 16GB costs 45% higher than in the U.S., iPhone 5 32GB – 52% higher and iPhone 5 64GB – 53% higher than in the U.S.
Local Russian laws have banned mobile operators from subsidizing the device’s price by linking it to a subscription package. Likely to be one of the main reasons Russia’s largest operator, MTS, has refused to offer the iPhone 5. OAO MegaFon (MFON), Russia’s second-largest mobile-phone operator, hasn’t been selling Apple devices since 2010, according to the company’s press office. The contract between Apple and VimpelCom Ltd., (VIP) Russia’s No. 3 operator, expires in March.
Still, Russia has a large appitite for Apple gadgets. Telecomdaily estimates 100,000 iPhone 5 have been brought into the country since their launch in U.S. and Western Europe. The gadget was fetching up to $3700 on the grey market. A study by Yandex showed iPad users accounted for about 1% of all internet users in Russia.