Ringing Bells ‘Freedom 251’ mobile case: Reactions to the Rs 251 world’s cheapest smartphone
Freedom 251 mobile: Ringing Bells company has shocked and awed everyone from the industry to the consumers after revealing that Freedom 251 will actually cost all of Rs 251 - the cheapest phone in the world. Many things have been said since then about the case that has all interested parties, from the government, the industry, and most of all, interested buyers wondering whether the promised deal is too good to be true. The word scam too has been liberally used to describe the entire case. Ringing Bells is also charging Rs 40 for shipping, taking the total price of the phone to Rs 291. So, instead of delving into other aspects of the case, here we present what the concerned people actually said.
'Freedom 251' mobile: Ringing Bells president Ashok Chadha said that the company will hand over 25 lakh Freedom 251 mobiles to the people who have registered for it online. "The pre-booking numbers we received are sheer humongous. I am happy that so many Indians have responded to our 'Make in India' smartphone call. Now the onus is on us to deliver on the promise and I am hopeful that we will be able to start delivery latest by April 10 and finish well before the June 30 deadline," Chadha said.
'Freedom 251' mobile: Ashok Chadha said the company is looking to set up two more units - one each in Noida and Uttarakhand. Chadha further said that while the manufacturing cost of the phone is high, it will be recovered through a series of measures like economies of scale, innovative marketing, reduction in duties and creating an ecommerce marketplace. Ashok Chadha said, "We are only looking at slim margins here. The aim is to first empower people especially from rural parts of the country to connect with the mainstream with this cheap yet powerful smartphone."
'Freedom 251' mobile: Reacting to the controversy that all the icons of the built-in app were almost a replica of Apple's iOS icons, Ashok Chadha said the phones that were shown in ads and alsewhere were "of some other brand" and that the company will provide people 'Freedom 251' mobile with all the promised features.
'Freedom 251' mobile: The Telecom ministry, which stepped in after it received industry complaints said, "An internal assessment was done by the telecom ministry from the day the phone was launched. Officials have found that such a handset cannot be offered for less than Rs 2,300-2,400".
'Freedom 251' mobile: Some of the eager buyers reported their experience while trying to book the mobile even as the freedom251.com website kept crashing. "I kept on trying for about an hour to book the smartphone. I had to refresh multiple times, fill in my details over and over again. Finally I got it booked but I am yet to make a payment," said Kashi Nath Nandi who works in a private firm in Noida. After placing the order, the page returned with a message: 'Thank you for placing the order. We will email you the link for payment within 48 hours to your registered unique email id to complete your purchase.' Sanju, a parking attendant in Kirti Nagar in West Delhi also booked the ultra-cheap smartphone in the wee hours on Friday. "I woke up at 4 a.m. to get one phone booked, finally," he said. Another Noida resident Pankaj said he was trying to book a phone but later decided to suspend his efforts owing to website issues.
'Freedom 251' mobile: At its launch at Nehru Park in Delhi, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi said, "It is a great news for people like fishermen, farmers and women from rural areas who can use this technology to empower their lives. I hope the smartphone will soon have some apps for the differently-abled too."
'Freedom 251' mobile: At the launch function, Ringing Bells Ashok Chadha said, "'Freedom 251' heralds a new era in the mobile handset and telecom industry from the end consumer perspective in India. Farmers would have access to real time weather forecast and soil conditions which will help them enhance their productivity and income. Women would have easy access to police apps and senior citizens would have access to medical facilities".
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