Russian mobile carriers MTS and Vimpelcom have announced plans to begin selling BlackBerry phones beginning in Q1 2008. RIM has received approval from the FSB, which is the successor to the former Soviet Union’s KGB to begin offering service in 2008.
Currently the permission given was for one year, however this approval process has been ongoing. Both MTS and Vimpelcom have been attempting to bring the BlackBerry to Russia for several years, but have been unable because the FSB required RIM to provide the codes used to encrypt traffic. They have reached a compromise with the security codes, however details were not given.
MTS launched the first BlackBerry devices in October in the Ukraine. Vimpelcom has plans to ship 1,050 of the BlackBerry 8700’s however they still need to be certified by Russian regulators prior to shipping.