Apple's iPhone has launched in Russia, but users will have to wait at least until 2009 before they'll be able to access an iTunes Store.

All three major Russian mobile networks, Mobile TeleSystems, Beeline and MegaFon, are now offering iPhones. But there is no confirmation of when an iTunes Store will launch and none of the operators have yet signed an agreement with Apple to provide access for subscribers to the download store when it does reach Russia.

MegaFon, though, may be closer to partnering with Apple on an iTunes Store package for subscribers than the other two mobile networks. Vasily Kuzichev, the company's business development director, told the Russian business newspaper RBC Daily that negotiations with Apple are "near completion" and the iTunes service could become available to MegaFon subscribers using iPhones 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 satisfy copyright owners, who think they are too low," he said.

Apple declined to comment.