Apple allegedly loosened its requirements for partner carriers, which opened the door for the Megafon deal. Competing carrier Vimpelcom signed a similar, direct deal with Apple in October 2013 that allowed the carrier to start selling the iPhone 5s and 5c. Among Russia's top three carriers, market leader MTS is the remaining holdout, buying its iPhone handsets from third-party distributors instead of Apple directly.
Apple's iPhone has a 20 percent market share of the smartphone market in Russia based on revenue and a nine percent market share based on units sold in 2013. Besides carriers, Apple also sells the iPhone in Russia through its online store and electronics resellers.