Ringing Bells Freedom 251 smartphone has set the mobile phone industry on fire with its eyeball grabbing price of just Rs 251. However, at the same time, people as well as mobile phone industry are skeptical how a new entrant into the market could sell a smartphone which looks like an imitation of iPhone at such a low price? Despite this, people got glued to their laptops and handsets as the clock struck 6:00 in the morning to pre-order this Rs 251 smartphone, which aims to bridge the digital divide in the country.
We were expecting that they would sell lakhs if not more units of this ‘cheaper than the cheapest smartphone, but boy we were wrong. The company managed to sell off only 30,000 units on day one. Mohit Goel, director of Ringing Bells, confirmed these numbers to The Economic Times. He said, “30,000 orders were booked on the day one of the online booking.”
The expectedly lower sale numbers could be attributed to the website crash; the company’s servers couldn’t survive 6 lakh hits per second. Ringing Bells, then, flashed a message on the website which read, “Dear friends, we are very grateful for your enormous response and your kind patronage and would submit that as of now we receive approx 6 lakh hits per second, as a result of which due to your kind overwhelming response servers are overloaded,” Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd. flashed a message on www.freedom251.com. We humbly submit that we are, therefore, taking a pause and upgrading the service and will revert within or before 24 hours.”
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The initial sales numbers of the device are way lower than Ringing Bells’ senior management’s expectations. In an interview to NDTV Gadgets 360, Mohit Goel along with Ringing Bells’ president Ashok Chadha said that they aim to transform India’s feature users to smartphone users. Goel further added that a maximum of 25 lakh phones will be booked online and another 25 lakh will be sold offline. Both the executives promised 100% deliveries to all 50 lakh bookings by June 30, which will kick-starting from April onwards.
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Not just this, Chadha also clarified that “Ringing Bells hasn’t requested or sought any subsidies for the government.” But then Goel pitched in saying that the recent reforms by the Modi government like ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Startup India Stand up India’ have acted like subsidies for them.
When asked about the refund policy of the company, the duo clearly stated that if someone who has pre-ordered a phone and seeks a refund before the handset is shipped can get their money back any time before June.