Retailers Will Start Selling iPhones This Week

bloombergApple CEO Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone 3G in California this summer.
Several of the country's largest retailers have announced that they will kick off Apple's iPhone sales in Russia next Friday, with Eldorado estimating that a total of 150,000 units could be sold by the end of the year.

"All retailers will begin sales of the iPhone in Russia at the same time, during the night between Oct. 2 and Oct. 3. Our company will also be selling them," said Nadezhda Senyuk, a PR director at retail chain Tekhhnosila.

Rival chains Eldorado and M.video said in separate statements that they would start selling Apple's newly released iPhone 3G on Friday.

Eldorado estimated that overall sales of the handset in Russia could reach 150,000 before the end of 2008. It said it was planning to sell around 15,000.

The company said it would sell the iPhone with 8 gigabytes of storage capacity for 22,999 rubles ($930) and with 16 gigabytes for 26,999 rubles -- the same prices as Russian mobile phone operators will charge for the iPhone without a contract.

The country's three biggest carriers, Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom and MegaFon, had earlier reached a distribution deal with Apple and are currently taking advance orders.

n Apple has begun selling unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong that can be used with any cell phone carrier. The move appears to depart from the company's previous strategy of selling the device through specific service providers, usually with a required service contract. On its Hong Kong web site, the company is advertising unlocked iPhones, saying people can "buy directly from Apple" and choose a carrier. (Reuters, AP)