Freedom 251: Online booking for Rs 251 smartphone to resume today

World's cheapest smartphone 'Freedom 251', priced at Rs 251 went on sale Thursday morning at 6 AM but the company later stopped accepting orders after its website crashed. 

Updated: Feb 22, 2016, 13:07 PM IST
Freedom 251: Online booking for Rs 251 smartphone to resume today

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Online booking for world's cheapest smartphone 'Freedom 251', priced at Rs 251 -- resumed on Friday morning but the website continued its poor run as people faced trouble in pre-ordering the device.

Already mired in controversy over its similarity to Apple iPhone design and appearance and now the Indian government keeping a close watch on its four-day booking offer that started from 6 am on Thursday, the Noida-based startup Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd claimed to have received 30,000 confirmed orders and over six lakh hits per second on its website on the first day.

But hours later, the firm stopped taking orders after its servers crashed owing to a huge rush to book the device online on www.freedom251.com.

"Dear friends, we are very grateful for your enormous response and your kind patronage and would submit that as of now we received approx. Six Lacs hits per second as a result of your kind overwhelming response, servers are over loaded," Freedom251 said in an apology to customers.

"We humbly submit that we are therefore taking a pause and upgrading the service and will revert within or before 24 hours," it added.

 

The Noida-based firm Ringing Bells, set up five months ago by Amity University graduate Mohit Kumar Goel, launched the Freedom 251 at a high-profile function last night, attended by BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi.had unveiled the smartphone yesterday.

 

Ringing Bells' President Ashok Chaddha said manufacturing cost of the phone is about Rs 2,500, which will be recovered through a series of measures like economies of scale, innovative marketing, reduction in duties and creating an e-commerce marketplace.

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"By going for Made in India components, we can save on the 13.8 percent duty. Also, we will be selling online first and thus save the costs incurred on large distribution network," he said.

 

Chaddha also rejected speculations of the handset being subsidised by the government.

"The phone will be manufactured in Noida and Uttaranchal. Two plants will be set up for Rs 250 crore each with a capacity of 5 lakh phones. The money will come in the form of debt and equity (1.5:1)," he said.

 

Chaddha added the equity is being met by the promoter family of the company that is "engaged in agri-commodities business" in Uttar Pradesh but declined to give further information.

The industry has also raised concerns about the pricing of the device and has asked Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to get into depth of the issue, saying the price could not be below Rs 3,500 even after a subsidised sale.

"For your kind information, the bill of material value for a product like this when sourced from the cheapest supply chain cost approx USD 40 (Rs 2,700). And this when translated into retail price after addition of applicable duties, taxes and with distribution and retail margins would be at least Rs 4,100 while the product is being sold at Rs 251," ICA National President Pankaj Mohindroo said in the letter. 

With Agency Inputs