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Facing losses, 'Freedom 251' maker seeks government help before launch

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, July 6: 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 said.

The first batch of 5,000 ‘Freedom 251’ devices will filly 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 rendra 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 tion”. Goel’s ambition is huge. He says if the government is willing to dole out Rs 50,000 crore, he can ensure that 750 million of India’s population would become part of digital India by owning a smartphone at Rs 251. Bringing some modesty into the equation about the enormity of his demand, Goel says that the government need not give his company the money but can get it manufactured by another vendor. “The government can make the phone — under our Freedom brand — from some other vendor. I have no objection to it. To make such phone for every Indian citizen, the government needs to allocate funds from its Digital India initiative,” he said. (IANS)

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