Freedom 251 now seems to be like a mirage – one that appears to be in sight only to appear far away at the very next instant. It was supposed to be first delivered on June 28. The date was then set back to June 30 and then to July 6. However, the phone is nowhere to be seen yet. Mohit Goel, the CEO of Ringing Bells – the company in charge of producing these phones – has now asked Indian government for an aid of INR 50,000 crore to make these phones. Interestingly enough, the company had also recently organized an event where it was supposed to launch the new phones as well as a new LED TV.
The cheapest LED TVs in India
The LED TVs have been priced at less than INR 10,000, which makes them one of the cheapest of their kind in the country. Goel has stated that Ringing Bells has around one lakh pieces of the TV set that are ready to be delivered to people willing to buy them. This is also one claim that has led many to wonder its veracity. The process of registering online for the TV sets is expected to start from July 25 and they would be delivered from the first of August.
Everybody shall not get a phone
Yes! There’s a good chance that even if you have ordered a phone you might not get it after all. The company has received around 7.5 crore orders and it has absolutely no clue how it will complete so many of them. To put things in perspective, this number in itself is a huge one – companies of the stature of Apple and Samsung sell this many phones in a year. Initially, the company had stated that it will start delivering 2 lakh handsets from June 30. Then it scaled down to 10,000 phones that were to be delivered to people in 19 states. Now the aim has been further whittled down to 5000 handsets, that are to be delivered on the first day itself.
However, there is no chance that the company will be able to produce two lakh units a month. Goel has further stated that if they get the aid they have appealed for they might deliver more phones in the days ahead. Otherwise, there is a distinct possibility that they might not be able to produce anything after all the hullabaloo. At the moment the company is training all its guns on delivering the services. As it appears, the entire situation does not inspire much confidence as such.
You will have to pay a delivery fee of INR 40 alongwith INR 251 in order to receive the phone. While not much, this is more than its owners had initially paid for.
Calculations of Ringing Bells – unsolved mysteries
Goel has stated quite clearly that with each phone the company will face a loss of INR 930. Every phone is incurring a cost of INR 1180 and its parts are being brought in from Taiwan. However, he also claims that he has generated in the region of INR 800 per phone from app developers and, additionally, earned revenues through the ads that were put up on the official website of Freedom 251. The interesting fact is that the stated website is no longer in operation.
This makes it unclear as to from where Ringing Bells is earning the aforementioned revenue. No one else knows which app developers have associated with Ringing Bells. As of now, Goel expects the losses on these phones to range from INR 180 to 270 for each set. These calculations are a little strange to say the least. Majority of the companies active in the industry say that each phone would cost at least INR 2500 in terms of manufacturing expenses, which makes Goel’s calculation of losses a little inexplicable.
Looking for help from government
Goel and his organization have always stated that they are a part of governmental programmes such as Make in India and Digital India. People connected to Make in India have stated firmly, though, that the phone is not at all connected to the project. Goel, as a result, has now turned to Digital India, saying that he can help the programme if the central government helps his organization. He has stated that if the government assists them then they can deliver all the phones at the originally-declared price and that too at the right time. According to Goel, this phone can empower every Indian digitally.
Goel has already sent a written letter to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and sought an appointment in order to get governmental assistance to make the phones. He has asked for around INR 50,000 crore in order to make sure that 750 million people in India can get a phone at INR 251. However, strangely enough, he does not want to keep the money in the company. Rather, Goel would be happy even if the government kept the money itself and got the phone manufactured by some other vendor. He has also stated that in such a case he would allow the Freedom brand to be used. He seems to just want every Indian to have such a phone and wishes that the government allots money from Digital India Initiative for the purpose.
Goel and Ringing Bells are also talking about cloud storage, which seems to be the latest keyword in the technological domain these days. He is looking to launch a cloud storage device named WhiteCloud with the intention of generating revenue. Through this programme he wants to build at least 100 new apps that will be available online to people who own Freedom 251 phones. He wishes that the developers would charge only the least amount of money for the apps – around INR 1-3 – and feels that this would generate some revenue.
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