Russian officials on Monday announced they have opened an anti-monopoly investigation against smartphone giant Apple based on allegations of price fixing.
Russia’s Competition Authority said it suspects iPhone resellers within the country have coordinated their iPhone pricing, leading to the establishment of theoretically “recommended” pricing as mandatory in reality.
According to regulators, the investigation was based on pricing of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus at sixteen major resellers in the country, including MTS, Euroset, Yulmart and Technosila. Russian officials said a preliminary investigation showed that from the devices’ launch in October 2015, the majority of resellers had listed and maintained the phones at the same price.
Officials said they are looking into whether the same price similarities can be found with other iPhone models.
The investigation comes just ahead of the expected launch of Apple’s next iPhone update in September.
The next devices will be the successors to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and are largely anticipated to include improved camera capabilities and touch-sensitive home button, Bloomberg reported.
According to Bloomberg sources, the new models will be similar in appearance to their predecessors but Apple is planning to remove two antenna lines from the back of the device as well as the headphone jack.
The new iPhone is also expected to run iOS 10, the latest upgrade to Apple’s operating system, Bloomberg said.
Over the past several quarters, Apple has been fighting to boost iPhone sales as numbers have sagged in the wake of the success of the iPhone 6.
In the second quarter, Apple sold 40.4 million iPhones, down 15 percent from the same period the year before and down from 51 million iPhones in the first three months of the year. The second quarter slump also dragged Apple revenue down by 15 percent to $42.4 billion.
In its efforts to grow iPhone sales and revenue, Apple has been working to strengthen its position in both India and Russian neighbor China.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s second quarter earnings call the company’s installed base of iPhone customers in China grew 34 percent over the previous year and sales in India were up 51 percent year over year.
Cook also said sales in Russia more than doubled year over year in the second quarter.