Freedom 251 – A Great Offer, or A Crooked Ploy for Publicity?

Ringing Bells on Thursday launched India’s cheapest LED TV, Freedom 9900


Ringing Bells on Thursday launched India’s cheapest LED TV, Freedom 9900, and yes you guessed it right - they have promised to sell it for Rs 9,900. But hang on…where is my world’s cheapest smartphone?


A Noida-based company, ithad made headlines earlier this year when it announced Freedom 251 – the world’s cheapest smartphone for Rs 251.The company’s website had crashed on getting 6 lakh hits per second as over 7 crore people registered for the smartphone and many paid money in advance.


But the phones were never delivered.


After extending the delivery date over half a dozen times, the company has finally promised to start shipping the phones from today.


Story of the world’s cheapest smartphone


To begin with, Ringing Bells never manufactured Freedom 251. The sample phones given during the launch were Adcom’s Ikon 4 sets which had simply been rebranded. But it’s interesting to note that Ikon 4 is priced at Rs 4081.


Adcom later said they had sold the phones to Ringing Bells for Rs 3600, but added they were not aware of any plans of the company to resell the same phones and had no idea about how they could be sold for such a meager price.


Ringing Bells on Thursday launched India’s cheapest LED TV, Freedom 9900


When the phone was launched, the phone’s price intrigued most people. When even the cheapest smartphones manufactured in the China would cost around $28, it seemed like an offer too good to be true.


The president of the company even went on to say that they are planning to open two plants to manufacture the phones. Another claim the company was making around the launch of Freedom 251 is that it was part of the digital India and make in India initiative.


But if you think that they are a bunch of fools who messed up big time, think again.They might have never intended to sell any models in the first place.  


The Strategy


The company indeed said that they’ll start delivering the phones from today, but there was a catch - only 5,000 phones to select customers would be delivered. This is despite getting around 7 crore orders for the phone.  



Ringing Bells played their cards well and kept them really close to their chest, which is why it took some time to realise what was going on – to be a bit more precise, it took until yesterday.On Thursday, along with India’s cheapest LED TV, Ringing Bells launched six new phones including two new smartphones. But these didn’t have the jaw dropping pricing of Freedom 251. They were normal cheap phones. The company has already said they have given back the booking amount to many customers,so in effect, they’re not bound to sell the phones for Rs 251.


Then why all the drama?


In the past five months, Ringing Bells has built a brand name and popularity that other companies can’t even dream of. The media coverage Freedom 251 got would have put even a new version of iPhone to shame. One should understand that let alone a smartphone, the firm has never before produced even a basic phone. The company was clever enough to take the media for a ride to build their brand and is still managing to pull it off.  


Anyway, today,a lot of questions will be answered as 5,000 lucky ones will be waiting with their fingers crossed for the world’s cheapest phone.  




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