Not just India but the entire world is talking of the ‘cheapest phone’ which costs Rs 300 if you add in the Rs 40 shipping price included). In a day, an unknown company has become a household name, be it in the higher or lower strata of the society. While some are terming the concept a scam, some still have high hopes, despite the controversy surrounding this rookie.
From specs offered at an unbelievably low price point and iPhone-like icons to being a re-branded Adcom Ikon 4 smartphone and Make in India project, a lot has already been said and written about the Freeedom 251. But what has added fuel to the popularity is the unbelievably low price at which the company is offering the phone. Everyone is estimating the cost of this wonder-instrument as per their own acumen but they failed to price it anywhere below a couple of thousands. Plus, you don’t even need to be a businessman to do the math.
Last night, Ashok Chadha, President, Ringing Bells explained how company plans to sustain despite such a low selling price. He cleared the air about subsidy by saying there is no government subsidy involved, but the company plans to benefit from economies of scale.
If some reports are to be believed then the Noida office was deserted and didn’t even have the Ringing Bells banner, instead it was named Bell. Another factor it claims is cutting down on distributors and relying only on the online medium. “With Made in India components, we can save on the 13.8 percent,” Chadha claimed. Also, selling online first could save the costs incurred on large distribution networks, he further claimed.
Well, we’ve seen companies like Motorola, Lenovo, YU and even Xiaomi take that route. Xiaomi sells phones starting at roughly Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 and relies on innovative marketing, is known to have made its investors worry lately.
The company also says that they will allow other companies to use their website as a selling platform. If you have visited the 251 Freedom site, I wouldn’t even have to get into details about how they could possibly manage it. Moreover, that’s a really tall claim for a company whose site crashed even before it started taking its first booking order for the Freedom 251.
Another pointer to think about is the company taking four months to deliver the products. Currently, they have 6 lakh visitors per second, and even if a few lakhs end up buying the device via online money, that’s a huge interest to earn in four months. Any reputed bank would give about 3 to 4 percent.
ALSO READ: Book your Smartphone for just Rs. 251/-
The company was to begin the booking today morning but the website received 6 lakh hits a second which it could not handle and crashed.
Here are the reasons why this could be nothing but a scam:
It is a rebranded ripoff_
The sample unit of Freedom 251 was reviewed and it was found out that it is a rebranded ripoff of a smartphone which is presently being sold at a cost of Rs 4000 by a company called Adcom. It is a Delhi based importer of gadgets and electronic products and they even do not know that their product is being rebranded.
The most hilarious part is that the logo of Adcom is not even removed. It is just hidden by a whitener. No genuine company selling a smartphone shall do that.. Never!
A smartphone at this cost is not possible_
There is no way one can justify why a phone with a four-inch screen, Android Lollipop operating system, 8GB internal storage and 1GB RAM can be sold for so low a price. The Mobile Industry Body Indian Cellular Association (ICA) has written to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad that there is no way any company can sell such a handset below Rs 2700, even after considering all discount factors and with whatsoever the amount of subsidy offered by the government.
Shipping will take four months_
The shipping of the actual products will only start four months after the orders are placed. Public memory is short. It is likely that when it’s time to deliver the actual product, there will be some deliveries and many cancellations.
It could be a marketing gimmick_
The parent company ‘Ringing Bells’ is a startup established last year only. It can be speculated that the ‘Freedom 251’ could be a marketing gimmick of the company. On the failure and publicity of the Rs 251 phone, Ringing Bells will step into the market.
Similar case has happened before_
Look a little back. Do you remember the $35 Indian tablet called Aakash? It was a government of India initiative and it was doomed from the start because the price the government was aiming for was ridiculous. The tablets were intended for students. But they were so bad that hardly anyone actually used them. Millions of rupees went down the drain. The government decided to shut operations.
There is, however, one company that benefited from that fiasco – DataWind. It was supposed to supply the $35 tablets. And it did. Although the quality and usability of those tablets were suspect, Datawind and the government ended up blaming each other for the fiasco.
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