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 the government’s support to make their loss-making venture “work for millions” who don’t own such a phone.
According to Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd CEO Mohit Goel, he initially faced Rs 930 loss 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,” Goel told IANS.
The first batch of 5,000 ‘Freedom 251’ devices will finally be out for delivery from July 8 and the receiver will have to pay Rs 291 (including Rs 40 as delivery charge) to get the unit, says Goel.
“In order to digitally-empower every Indian, if I can get government support under the Digital India programme, I can ensure timely delivery of ‘Freedom 251’ phone to all citizens at the same price,” Goel said on the eve of the launch event.
In a letter written to the Prime Minister’s Office dated June 28 asking for a meeting with Narendra Modi, Ringing Bells said: “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, humble request government support to actualise the objective to cascade the availability and usage of smartphones all through the far reaches of our great nation”.
The company will also showcase a 32-inch high-definition LED television — also called “Freedom” — at the launch event.
“These will be the cheapest television sets in India and will be available for less than Rs 10,000. Online registration for the TV sets will be open from July 25 with delivery to be made from August 1,” Goel said, claiming that the company currently has one lakh such pieces in stock.
In comparison, the price of a 32-inch HD LED TV sets normally begins from Rs 13,000 in online markets.