Russian antitrust agency, the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, believes that mobile operators in the country may be colluding to restrict the pricing of Apple’s iPhone handsets, which when unlocked are among the most expensive in the world.
Dow Jones reports that both OAO Mobile TeleSystems (MBT) and VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP) have priced the iPhone 4 32GB Black and the iPhone 4 16GB Black models identically at the majority of their retail and sales outlets, referencing documentation from Apple that states that the company has not amended its wholesale prices since September and it does not enforce pricing of iPhones by its partners.
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MBT and VIP priced the 32GB and 16GB black iPhone 4 handsets at 31,890 rubles ($1,019) and RUB26,690 ($853) respectively, almost double what Apple and its partners charge consumers in other regions worldwide.
Neither Apple or the operators involved wished to comment on the matter, but the mobile carriers are expected to issue statements responding to accusations by Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service later today.