comscore Freedom 251: Ringing Bells’ world's cheapest smartphone raises more questions than answers
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Freedom 251: Ringing Bells’ world's cheapest smartphone raises more questions than answers

The Freedom 251 has entry level specifications, but how the company managed to offer the smartphone at such ridiculous price. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answers to these, raising suspicions about its authenticity.

  • Published: February 18, 2016 11:50 AM IST
freedom-251-hands-on-1

Ringing Bells yesterday launched its much hyped Freedom 251, touted as India s cheapest smartphone. The smartphone comes with entry-level specifications but is ridiculously priced at Rs 251. The ultra low-cost pricing along with extensive advertising has created a massive buzz across the country. Head over to our comments sections of previous stories and our official social media pages to see the buzz for yourself. In fact, our inboxes are flooded with inquiries about the smartphone. Also Read - World's cheapest smartphone 'Freedom 251' maker Mohit Goel arrested by Delhi police

Also Read - Ringing Bells Freedom 251 headlines again, MD claims can still deliver phones by early 2018

Also Read - Two arrested for cheating Ringing Bell of Rs 3 crore

Though there s a lot of buzz, the company has gotten mired in controversies ranging from an unrealistic pricing along with the blatant copy of the iOS. We had hoped the company to address these controversies at the official launch yesterday, but surprisingly has ended up raising triggering more questions and doubts about the entire episode.

According to Hindustan Times, Ringing Bells was set up by Amity University graduate Mohit Kumar Goel five months ago. IIT alumnus Ashok Chaddha is the President of the company, while Goel s wife Dhaarna is the company CEO.

How does Ringing Bell make a 3G smartphone for Rs 251?

According to the report, the smartphone is actually priced at Rs 2,500. But the company plans to recover that cost by a raft of measures like economies of scale, innovative marketing, reduction in duties and creating an ecommerce marketplace , said the report. Interestingly, all of these does not exist right now. In fact the company has plans to manufacture in Noida, and set up two plans with an investment of Rs 250 crore each. The source of money is in the form debt and equity (1.5:1).

All of these look futuristic, and we highly doubt how the company is going to begin with such massive numbers at that ultra low-cost price.

ALSO READ: Freedom 251 first impressions: The world s cheapest smartphone is a rebadged Chinese phone sold at loss

In fact, the industry body ICA has already pointed out that smartphone with such set of specifications will not cost less than Rs 3500, leave alone other assembling, distribution and marketing costs. The body has urged the telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to take a look into the matter.

It is not subsidized by the government.

The launch event was attended by government ministers, and Digital India was the main theme of the Freedom 251 advertisement. Chaddha confirms the smartphone hasn t been subsidized by the Central government.

ALSO READ: Freedom 251: Beware! Booking from freedom251.com could compromise your personal information

Unsafe website

The website – Freedom251.com – where the smartphone is up for booking isn t a HTTPs website, which means users submitting data isn t secure on the site. Also, we have already noticed the website crashing and several people complaining about not being able to book the smartphone. We had already speculated that the company is just using the 251 rupees price tag for getting attention for its branding, and may not be able to deal with such mammoth demand, which not at all can be termed unexpected.

The entire Rs 251 smartphone moniker looks dubious right now, and we highly doubt the company will be able to deliver to the masses.

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  • Published Date: February 18, 2016 11:50 AM IST


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