In what appears to be a dominant victory of Samsung over Apple in their on-going battle of global smartphone market dominance, each of the three major wireless carriers in Russia, MTS, Megafon, and VimpelCom have stopped selling Apple’s iPhones under their contracts – leaving only one store in Russia (i.e. Svyaznoy) which will still sell the iPhone lineup.
Russia is one those countries alongside Brazil, India, and China where the demand of smartphones is booming rapidly and as per industry pundits, 2018 onwards these countries will overtake the US as top smartphone markets. These sudden turn of events can therefore badly hurt Apple’s interests in Russia in the near future.
The reason for the discontinuation is being stated as Apple’s ‘draconian contracts’ requirements which were hurting both the consumers and the carriers. VimpelCom was the last of major Russian smartphone carriers to quit smartphones from Apple and now it says that it has put Samsung on top of its favorite list for promotion in the future apart from their own brand, BeeLine.
Russia’s big three carriers (MTS, Megafon, and Beeline a subsidiary of VimpelCom) signed their contracts with Apple allowing them to sell their iPhone back in 2008 and now after just five years none of the carriers is offering iPhone anymore.
Dmitry Ryabinin, chief analyst for Russian Hi-Tech publication explains:
“This decision might be connected to the fact that Vimpelcom signed a contract with Samsung. Moreover, Apple is getting ready to open its own retail store chain in Russia and is not interested in having many third-party vendors. Apple’s conditions are harsh, especially in the marketing department, and are not always beneficial for its partners. That’s why Vimpelcom’s decision looks logical”
Apple’s market shares in Russia is also falling slowly as Apple had 9% Russian market shares in Q1 of 2012 which has now dropped to 8.4% in Q1 of 2013. All carriers dropping the iPhone is definitely a blow to the company, but it doesn’t mean that Russians would not be able to find an iPhone as the Svyaznoy store is still selling out the iPhones in Russia and Apple is also preparing to launch its own chain of official Apple stores in Russia soon. The Cupertino based company also officially launched its online Apple Store in Russia in June this year to strengthen its grip in the region.
What do you think on entire Russia literally dumping the iPhone? Will Apple be able to bounce back in Russia? Let us know in the comments section below!