Apple's Key to Russia

Apple inks a key partnership in Russia with Megafon. After taking a break, the carrier wants to do business directly with Apple again.

Jan 27, 2014 at 11:00PM

Russia's No. 2 carrier Megafon has now inked a new deal with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after taking a four-year break from the iPhone. Megafon stopped carrying the iPhone in 2009 because of Apple's notoriously strict carrier requirements. The new deal is similar to one struck with Vimpelcom (NASDAQ:VIP) in that Russian carriers are working directly with Apple again. In contrast, Mobile Telesystems (NYSE:MBT) still gets iPhones through distributors.

With more than half of all smartphone sales in the country selling for less than 5,000 rubles, or around $150, by late 2013, Apple's high-end products are having a difficult time gaining traction and account for only around 8% of the current market share. Evan discusses some of the affordability initiatives Apple could pursue here, but more broadly, he highlights the idea that if Apple could loosen some of its strict carrier requirements, he sees numerous niche markets where the company could grow.

In this video from Monday's Tech Teardown, Motley Fool tech and telecom bureau chief Evan Niu looks at Apple's troubles on the whole in cracking the Russian smartphone market.

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Erin Kennedy and Evan Niu, CFA, both own shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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