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Ringing Bells Seek 50k Cr From Govt To Make Freedom 251 Phones 

The makers of Freedom 251 have sought government support to ensure those who don’t own a phone have access to one.

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It looks like harsh reality has struck Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd, the makers of the Freedom 251 smartphone.

As consumers wait to see the cheapest smartphone (less than $4) at its scheduled launch in the capital on Thursday, its Noida-based makers have made another pitch for government support to make their loss-making venture “work for millions” who don’t own a phone.

According to Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd CEO Mohit Goel, he initially faced a loss of Rs 930 on each handset that cost him Rs 1180 and for which parts were imported from Taiwan.

I recovered Rs 700-800 from app developers and revenue generated through advertisements on Freedom 251 website. After selling the device for Rs 251 (cash on delivery), the total loss per handset is expected to be in the range of Rs 180-270
Mohit Goel, Director, Ringing Bells Pvt. Ltd told IANS

The first batch of 5,000 ‘Freedom 251’ devices will finally be out for delivery beginning 8 July and the receiver will have to pay Rs 291 (including Rs 40 as delivery charge) to receive the unit, says Goel.

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But in order to make his project a reality, Goel has sought help from the government under the Digital India programme, so that they can ensure timely delivery of ‘Freedom 251’ phone to all citizens at the same price.

We have brought ‘Freedom 251’ which we offer on ‘Cash on Delivery’ terms but we have a gap between the BOM (Bill of Materials) and the Selling Price. We, therefore, humbly request government support to actualise the objective to cascade the availability and usage of smartphones all through the far reaches of our great nation.  
Letter to PMO by Ringing Bells

Goel’s ambition is huge. He says if the government is willing to dole out Rs 50,000 crore, he can ensure that 750 million of India’s population will become a part of digital India and own a smartphone at a price of Rs 251.

He said the government need not give his company the money, but that it could also arrange to get it manufactured by another vendor.

The government can make the phone– under our Freedom brand– from some other vendor. I have no objection to it. To make such phone for every Indian citizen, the government needs to allocate funds from its Digital India initiative.
Mohit Goel as told to IANS

As they say, better late than never. However, Goel’s latest admission hardly comes as a surprise to us. Most industry experts pointed out that covering Ringing Bells’ losses of over Rs 900 per device is impossible economically.

It would have been better for the company if they hadn’t made false promises to consumers, especially when there are only 5000 units available for sale right now.

Ringing Bells is slated to host a media event on Thursday to announce its Freedom LED TVs that will be priced around Rs 10,000. We hope it manages to stand by its delivery goal and make unit available to consumers by 25 July.

(With agency inputs.)

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