Does Ringing Bells ring a bell? Yes, they are the makers of the famed Freedom 251 phone, which was supposed to sell for ₹ 251, making it the world's cheapest smartphone. According to Ringing Bell's latest claims, close to 2 lakh units of the phone are now ready to be shipped. And that's not all, the company is also planning to launch an affordable LCD TV.
The registration for the phones began in February, after the controversial launch which had involved many hiccups and accusations. Their online payment model didn't work as expected and there were many bugs in their website. Finally, Ringing Bells refunded the money to its potential buyers and switched to a cash-on-delivery model.
Now, the company is claiming that the handsets will be reaching customers starting 30 June, which means that confirmed customers should expect Freedom 251 landing on their doorstep in the first week of July.
According to Mohit Goel, co-founder of Ringing Bells, the sale of the phones won't exactly set the cash registers ringing for the company. Goel said that he is facing a loss of ₹140-150 for each unit he sells, but hopes to make a profit on volumes. "We will have a loss, but I am happy that the dream of connecting rural and poor Indians as part of the 'Digital India' and 'Make in India' initiatives has been fulfilled with Freedom 251," he told IANS.
"We learned from our mistakes and decided to go silent till we come out with the product. Now we have a 4-inch, dual-SIM phone ready for delivery. I feel vindicated," Goel said. "Our devices are completely 'Make in India' and were manufactured at our Haridwar-based manufacturing unit. We plan to sell two lakh devices every month."
Goel also announced the launch of an affordable television set. "The company is also planning to launch a 32-inch high-definition LED television -- also called 'Freedom'. These will be the cheapest television sets in India and will be available for less than ₹10,000. Within two days, the delivery would be made and we will sell them online. We have 1 lakh units in stock," Goel said.