Russia threatens foreign cellphone makers
Russia is threatening to ban imports of foreign cellphones that do not have a Russian GPS system, the business newspaper Vedomosti said on its website Saturday, reported DPA.
Nokia, Siemens and Motorola had already been told to install the Glonass positioning system in their handsets or face exclusion from the Russian market, the newspaper quoted entrepreneur Vladimir Yevtushenko as saying.
"They realize that we will close the market for models that do not have Glonass chips in them," said Yevtushenko, whose AFK Sistema empire boasts around 200 companies.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has welcomed the move, the report said.
"It is good when our partners understand that we have to protect our national interests," Putin said during a meeting with Yevtushenko.
Analysts believe Russia is trying to press the companies concerned to relocate part of their cellphone and navigation equipment production to Russia.
Alexander Gurko, whose company NIS distributes Glonass, confirmed that talks were under way with foreign manufacturers on the issue.
Glonass, intended to rival the US satellite-based GPS, should have been operational across Russia by the end of 2007. Technical problems have delayed its introduction.