Freedom 251 Officially Launched, pricing, no Government involvement raises concerns
Ringing Bells today launched the Freedom 251 smartphone in India at an unbelievable price-tag of just Rs. 251. At the Launch, emphasis was given on Digital India, Make in India and Skill India. Company also revealed that initially the chip will be imported from Taiwan and the rest will be made in India. Company plans to make up to 75% hardware in India by the end of 1st year, raising the bar to 100% in coming time. Ringing Bells is also looking to invest approx. 500 crores for two manufacturing plants held at Noida and Uttaranchal. Company plans to sell 1 crore units / month in coming years.
Clarifying some of the doubts Ashok Chadha, Ringing Bells President, confirmed that there is no government subsidy on the phone apart from his friendship with MP Murli Manohar Joshi. Mr. Chadha further said, “The bill of materials [cost of the parts] for a phone like this is around Rs. 2,000 – by making in India we take away around Rs. 400 from that; by selling online we cut overheads and save another Rs. 400, And as the numbers go up, we’re not talking lakhs but much more, we save another Rs. 400 from economies of scale. And then, our platform becomes big, and attractive to others, so we can then highlight products that are worth buying for our customers, and this is another source of income. We will pass all of this on to the customers, we want to make only a small profit per unit.”
Such a pricing has raised concerns for many, including ICA, a mobile industry body. At the launch event of Freedom 251, many senior politicians and government leaderships made a presence. The Indian Cellular Association (ICA) deemed it as inappropriate, as the controversies surrounding the phone pricing and costing dense out.
Expressing concern over the pricing, Pankaj Mohindroo, ICA National President, has sent a letter to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad that quotes, “For your kind information, the bill of material (BOM) value for a product like this when sourced from the cheapest supply chain cost approximately $40 (Rs 2,700). “And this, when translated into retail price after addition of applicable duties, taxes and with distribution and retail margins would be at least Rs. 4,100 while the product is being sold at Rs. 251”
He further added, “even if the product is sold at lower margins in an e-commerce type subsidised sale, the final consumer price cannot come below $52-55 (about Rs. 3,500-3,800). Further, there is no visible mobile operator subsidy involved in this, which in any case is not the way the Indian mobile market operates.”
Freedom 251 Phone – Don’t buy it yet.
The freedom 251 is now available at Freedom251.com. Buy link is now active however the whole process is unprofessional.
Personally, I found the site very slow and crashes frequently. After entering the Name / Address details at the cart, most of the times the page does not load to check out. When it does, users are redirected to CCavenue.com website to process the payment.
Even the payment portal crashes, which is sadly a let-down. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that Ringing Bells is promising to deliver the mobile phone in 4 months. For those who are not aware, Freedom 251 is a rebranding of Adcom Ikon 4.
Details on the authenticity and certification are also shady at the moment. Company does not seem to be prepared at the initial stages, we have to wait and see how the company performs.