Freedom 251 mobile: Rs 251 smartphone deliveries set to start, says Ringing Bells
Freedom 251 mobile row: Controversy may have been hounding this Rs 251 smartphone from the moment it was launched, but that is not stopping its makers Ringing Bells from going ahead with plans to deliver the 'cheapest smartphone in the world' to all those who had booked it during the initial days. The company had said about 30,000 people paid for booking the phone and over 7 crore people registered for it.
Ringing Bells, a little-known company that ran into controversy after announcing a Rs 251 Freedom 251 mobile phone, has claimed it will start deliveries of the handset to customers from June 28. Deliveries will start to customers who have registered for buying the smartphone, Noida-based company's Director Mohit Goel said.
"We will start shipment of Freedom 251 mobile from June 28 to customers who paid for it earlier on COD (cash-on-delivery) basis," he said. Ringing Bells began selling the handset, Freedom 251, via its website in February. But the launch of the smartphone, fell into controversy, with some calling it a ponzi scheme.
Also, due to the spectacular response from prospective Freedom 251 mobile buyers, the website of the company crashed during two-day sale, leading to further accusations that the company was not able to satisfactorily answer.
Ringing Bells, however, later on withdrew the Freedom 251 mobile and refunded the payments to customers following a close scrutiny by government agencies. Later, the company said that it would deliver the phone on cash-on-delivery mode to those who placed the order.
Goel said that Ringing Bells has a foolproof plan to support the Freedom 251 mobile price but did not disclose it. Ringing Bells President Ashok Chaddha had explained earlier that the manufacturing cost of Freedom 251 mobile was about Rs 2,500, which had to be recovered through a series of measures like economies of scale, innovative marketing, reduction in duties and creating an e-commerce marketplace.
He had said that the company would make phones in India that would lead to 13.8 per cent savings on duties and further save on cost by selling it online. Freedom 251 was to be manufactured in Noida and Uttaranchal. "Two plants will be set up for Rs 250 crore each with a capacity of 5 lakh phones. The money will come in the form of debt and equity (1.5:1)," Chaddha had said. (PTI)
However, industry players had expressed doubt over the Freedom 251 mobile claims. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad too had asked the Department of Electronics and IT to look into the matter. Ringing Bells had also come under the scanner of Excise and Income Tax Departments amid debate over the feasibility of a 3G-enabled handset for Rs 251. (PTI)
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