Ringing Bells Freedom 251 mobile case: Officials rush to Telecom Minister over Rs 251 price point
Freedom 251 mobile case: Officials of Ringing Bells, who had launched Freedom 251 mobile priced at a spectacular Rs 251, rushed to meet Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and other officials from the department of telecommunications after allegations of wrongdoing and talk of scam gained credence, especially after the website crashed repeatedly during the booking days.
Freedom 251 mobile row: According to Ringing Bells officials, they meet the Telecom Minister to allay apprehensions regarding the pricing of Freedom 251 mobile, which has become the world's cheapest smartphone - the company does admit the cost of production is over 2,300, but it says it has the economics of the product worked out and will be turning a profit eventually - it has received over 5 crore bookings. They claimed a profit of Rs 31 from each smartphone, even after selling at Rs 251.
Freedom 251 mobile row: The Ringing Bell representatives led by president Ashok Chadha reportedly told Ravi Shankar Prasad that they have signed several cross agreements with software developers, app-makers, besides others engaged in marketing and production of smartphones, which will help them cross-subsidise the product. The first 50 lakh phones would be imported from China in SKD units and thereafter production in the country will be started in a phased manner.
Freedom 251 mobile row: The meeting and the assurance was in the context of a letter written by Indian Cellular Association, the mobile phone handset lobby, raising apprehensions regarding the pricing of the product. The industry body had said that in view of the specification as advertised, the pricing of the phone cannot be below Rs 3,500-3,800 per unit and had urged for government intervention.
Freedom 251 mobile row: "For your kind information, the bill of material value for a product like this when sourced from the cheapest supply chain cost about $40 (Rs 2,700),” Pankaj Mohindroo, national president of Indian Cellular Association, had written to Prasad. He added that the cost would be at least Rs 4,100 when retail margins and taxes are added. Ringing Bells’ officials also told the minister they would deposit the money collected through orders for the smartphones in an escrow account.
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