In India, last week, a little-known company called Ringing Bells started offering a smartphone for an astonishing 251 Indian rupees, or a little less than $4, which seems potentially impossible.
The phone was named the Freedom 251 and it’s specced appeared to be really good considering its low-value point.
Specs of Freedom 251 Specs
- 1.3 GHz quad-core processor
- 1,450 mAh battery
- 4-inch qHD display
- 960 x 540 resolution
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB of internal storage
- 3.2-megapixel camera
The company already sold nearly 30,000 units, and now it’s being accused of fraud by congressman Pramod Tiwari. Another MP, Kirit Somaiya, has requested a government investigation, calling it a huge Ponzi scam.
“This seems to be a joke or a scam. It is something we are very upset about,”
said Pankaj Mohindroo, national president of the Indian Cellular Association.
“This is being investigated by various government authorities.”
Mohindroo wrote in a letter to India’s Minister for Communications and I.T.
“Even when using the cheapest components, a phone like the Freedom 251 would cost at least 2700 rupees or $40 to make.”
Before the launch of the Freedom 251, Ringing Bells, has handed over review units to some journalists. Therefore, the media found out it is basically the Adcom Ikon 4 smartphone, which is available on Flipkart for Rs 3,699. The Freedom 251 is just the Ikon 4 being sold at a ground-breaking price of Rs 251.
Both founders of Ringing Bells, Mohit Goel and Ashok Chanda, tell the Times of India that the handsets had Adcom branding because they brought the screen from them.
“We just wanted to show a prototype of what the handsets will look like. This is not the final piece. We obviously want to provide ‘Made in India’ handsets as that is the core of our vision. We did a quick and intensive search and located the components but due to the touch plate, we faced a problem in view of the fragile nature in addition to the scratch-proof requirements of the piece.”
Ringing Bells had stopped accepting orders as its website crashed due to intense traffic. However, the company has promised to send out the Freedom 251 to market by the end of June.