Given the escalating demand for the iPhone 3G worldwide with 1 million units sold in the first weekend, the Apple smartphone is increasingly being associated with status symbol as is evident in Russia. The former Communist stronghold, where consumerism was once a dirty word is seeing the Russian consumers vying with each other for this coveted commodity from Apple with 600,000 iPhones entering the Russian markets through unauthorized channels. According to sources close to Reuters, three Russian carriers, including its largest carrier Mobile TeleSystems and major competitors Vimpelcom and MegaFon, are forging an official alliance with Apple to launch the iPhone 3G in Russia.
Apple expects to sell 10 million iPhones worldwide this year with Russia itself accounting for 3.5 million sales in the next two years. As for the official carriers, they hope to make moolah buying the iPhone from Apple for $399 and selling it in the domestic market for $990. However, with the unauthorized dealers charging a much lower price this seems to be a rather risky proposition for the official carriers in Russia.