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Sluggish iPhone sales could lead to stiff fines for Russian operators

Darren Murph

See folks, this is the kind of mess you end up with after you gleefully do a deal with the devil. According to a roundup of reports over at Unwired View, three of Russia's major mobile operators could be looking at massive (we're talking hundreds of millions of bucks) fines if they can't sell through their iPhone allotments, and unless a significant market shift happens within the next few months, that situation seems remarkably unlikely. We're told that Vimpelcom pledged to sell 1.5 million iPhones within two years, while Megafon committed to 1 million and MTS the same. Today, just 900,000 iPhones have been imported to Russia, with over half entering the country via grey market channels; we'll let you figure out the math there, but it ain't pretty for Russia's carriers. Of course, we're not shocked in the least -- after getting burnt by a bootable-but-not-usable iPhone over there, are you seriously going to give Apple another chance to win you over?

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