Though Russia is currently an App Store-only country, Apple may be planning a full iTunes Store for 2009, according to a Billboard report. It states that none of Russia’s three iPhone carriers have yet signed an agreement with Apple to provide subscriber access to the Store when it does launch in Russia, but does claim that MegaFon is the closest of the three to a deal, based on a statement made by a company executive.
The language of providing subscriber access is curious, as the iPhone-based iTunes Music Store has up until this point been limited to Wi-Fi access only, raising questions as to whether a Russian version would provide over-the-air cellular downloads, and of what sort of content. Vasily Kuzichev, business development director with MegaFon, has said that negotiations with Apple are “near completion” and that the iTunes Store could become available to MegaFon subscribers in early 2009.
“The biggest problem at this point is that content in Russia is more expensive than in some other countries and the prices iTunes is considering for content in this country doesn’t [sic] satisfy copyright owners, who think they are too low,” Kuzichev said. [via Macworld UK]