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Russia's antitrust authority Wednesday said it suspects two of the country's mobile telephone companies of price collusion on Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhones.
OAO Mobile TeleSystems (MBT) and VimpelCom Ltd. (VIP) have identical prices for iPhone 4 smart phones at the majority of sales outlets, according to Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, which cited material from Apple saying wholesale prices haven't changed since September 2010 and that there are no price controls on the phones.
An investigation by the authority focused on the iPhone 4 32 gigabyte Black and the iPhone 4 16 gigabyte Black, which are listed at 31,890 rubles ($1,019) and RUB26,690 ($853), respectively, on the Mobile TeleSystems website. Unlocked Apple iPhones sold in Russia are among the most expensive in the world.
A spokeswoman for MTS couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the investigation, and a spokeswoman for VimpelCom declined to comment immediately, saying a statement would be released later.
An Apple spokeswoman in Russia didn't immediately return telephone calls or an email seeking comment.
-By William Mauldin, Dow Jones Newswires; +7 495 232-9192, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Olga Razumovkskaya in Moscow contributed to this article.)