Earlier this week was pretty exciting for Indians when they learned that they could buy a 3G enabled smartphone just at a mere pricing of Rs 251. This smartphone was Freedom 251, aptly named; it was launched by a Noida-based company, Ringing Bells. The company might not have for seen this, but this handset quickly becomes the talk of the world, most of the reason behind its trending all over the world was the controversies around it. There were tons of questions we and everyone in the country had that were not answered at the launch event. But in a recent interview of Ringing Bells founders, Ashok Chadha, and Mohit Goel, taken by the NDTV’s Rajiv Makhni, cleared a lot of answers. Below you can see some of burning question answered by the founders.
Question: How can you sell a smartphone for dirt cheap price of Rs 251?
Answer: With Make in India campaign going on in the country, the company plans to contribute to the program and empower Indian citizens with a smartphone for lowest possible price. How we are achieving such feat is by creating a large demand, which means large bookings. Producing something at large lowers down its costs, which is the economics of scale. And by spending less on marketing, we are reducing costs. There is a disruptive marketing involved, though, it makes easier for us to convey the message. There is also a 13.5% Import Duty benefit passed on to the customer. While to break down the cost completely, a phone with such specifications costs around Rs 2000 to make, 50% cost is reduced by creating large quantities. Passing on import duty as well, it would approximately come down to Rs 800. While the remaining discount of Rs 450 is being taken out of revenue from partners, whose apps would be pre-installed on the devices, currently their names can’t be disclosed, as an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) would be signed.
Question: When can be payment system problem on your website will be resolved?
Answer: CC Avenue, the company behind our payment gateway, is working to resolve it as we speak. It should be sorted out soon. Keep checking as bookings would be accepted till February 21st.
Question: How many phones would be coming to Indian market?
Answer: Total 50 lakh units would be delivered by the June 30th as promised, out of which 50% would be sold by offline and other 50% by online bookings. It would be sent to consumers when they submit an official government ID.
Question: When does the delivery of the Freedom 251 smartphone starts?
Answer: The delivery will commence from April first week of this year and delivery of all devices would be achieved by the end of the June.
Question: How many factories would be setup in India?
Answer: There are talks going on about it, it would be finalized after the new fiscal year starts. Probably 4-5 manufacturing units would be setup initially to meet the demands.
Question: How many bookings are you accepting at this time?
Answer: Currently, we are accepting online booking of only 25 lakh smartphones on our online portal. It would be stopped once it’s achieved.
Question: Have you received the money from the orders that are booked?
Answer: No, CC Avenue will pay us the amount only after the proof of delivery is submitted.
Question: What about the previous orders of the Smart 101 smartphone?
Answer: We would be fulfilling the orders of the cheapest 4G Phone, the Smart 101, priced at Rs 2999 by 25th February.
Question: Why your website not able to load and complete the orders?
Answer: We received an overwhelming response, around 63 Lakh hits every second, which is huge. By later everyone can still book the phone.
Question: How much is the Government Subsidy provided to you?
Answer: We have not asked for any government subsidies nor received the same. We had invited government officials, but just for the launch event.
Question: What is the connection of Ringing Bells with Adcom?
Answer: Adcom is Indian smartphone vendor; we would source some components from the company. The devices (Ikon 4) send to media houses and at the launch event were preview units. The final device would sport similar specifications but would be quite different regarding design.
They have mentioned that they want to Make in India, but then the question still remains about where these demands would be fulfilled from, as currently they don’t have No Assembly Lines. Moreover, if it is indeed make in India, then why the government subsidy would be required in the first place since there would be no import involved. There are still many other questions unanswered, but this is a brief list based on what the brand had mentioned in an interview.