The latest versions of the Apple iPhone went on sale in Italy, Russia, Spain and more than 25 additional countries on Friday, but analysts warned that the new iPhone 5s and 5c models are still too expensive in many emerging markets including Russia, which has just reopened its doors to the Apple smartphone after previously giving it the cold shoulder.
After giving iPhone the cold shoulder earlier this year, Russia's leading mobile operators said they will start selling the new iPhone 5c and 5s models on Oct. 25, although only VimpelCom has signed a distribution deal with Apple.
Russia's No. 3 mobile operator VimpelCom has appointed Mikhail Slobodin as the new head of its Russian business, and said current head Anton Kudryashov is moving to the group's executive board to run business development from the company's head office in Amsterdam.
Rostelecom has commercially launched 3G networks in 21 Russian regions alongside one LTE network in Sochi, and said it is making good progress toward establishing future growth areas for the company.
Russian operator MTS reported earnings for the second quarter that beat analyst estimates, and said increased usage of mobile data services by its subscribers was largely responsible for the jump.
Rostelecom is reportedly planning to sharpen its focus on the mobile market in what is being described as a "strategic change of direction" for the Russian operator.
The market for 2.5G Gigabit passive optical network equipment totaled $1.4 billion in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), emerging economies that are seeing solid growth in the GPON segment.
Millions of smartphone and tablet customers are clamouring for faster mobile data services in Russia, making the country the next major battleground for network equipment vendors.
MTS's Vyacheslav Nikolaev spoke to FierceWireless:Europe in an exclusive interview, when he outlined the Russian operator's LTE and convergence plans, and discussed what he called the "notorious government initiative" for 800 MHz spectrum and why no operator in Russia is selling the iPhone.
Russia's mobile operators are showing Apple the door and favouring smartphones based on the Android and Windows Phone operating systems according to various media reports, although the reports differ on whether all three operators or just two are phasing out the iPhone.