Freedom 251 – Scam or No?

Freedom 251 phone is touted as the world’s cheapest smartphone. Without doubt, the throwaway price of the phone is its biggest selling point. But then, the smartphone apart from coming at smart price also has decent amount of features that would grace a standard entry-level smartphone phone.

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Who is the manufacturer of Freedom 251 phone?

A little known company based in Noida known as Ringing Bells, which was actually established in 2015, has suddenly swept the attention of the world with the announcement of a smartphone which is priced at a cost lesser than an average fast food meal.

What are the features of Freedom 251? Is it worth buying?

The phone surprisingly has features that are equivalent to an entry level smartphone which costs at least Rs. 3000. Here are the key features –

Display – 4 inch

Processor – 1.3 Ghz

RAM – 1GB

Front Camera – 0.3 megapixel

Rear Camera – 3.2 megapixel

OS – Android 5.1

Storage – 8GB

Battery Capacity -1450 mAh

The phone has 3G connectivity, Bluetooth, Wi-FI and comes with 3.5mm headphones.

Freedom 251 also comes with a 1 year warranty.

freedom 251

Why is the price for Ringing Bells so low?

The company says that the government has not subsidized the cost of the phone. The CEO of Ringing Bells, Ashok Chadha, has said that the price innovation is the strategy of the company. He says that the company does not intend to make many profits from the product. By making it available on a massive scale, the company is looking for volume. He adds that the company hopes to make money through other services, or value-additions. For instance, one way of making money for the company is manufacturing its own SIM card, which could be available in the next two years.

How to book Freedom 251?

One has to go Freedom251.com to place the orders. Naturally when the phone was released on February 17, the company has to stop taking further orders due to massive booking. Ringing Bells said that the company will commence the booking process for Freedom 251 again.

The first round of sale begins from Feb 18 (6 AM) and continues till February 21, 8PM.

To book Freedom 251, one has to go to www.freedom251.com, select the phone, choose the on-screen procedures to complete the transaction and hit the ‘buy’ button.

Ringing Bells – Service Centers

The company said that there are more than the 650 service centers across the India.

 

Is Freedom 251 a scam?

Please note the total price of the phone is Rs.291 because Rs.40 is included for shipping purposes. Freedom 251 cannot be shipped outside India.

One may not think it is a scam considering the owners of the company, Mohit Goel, Anmol Goel, Dhaarna Goel and Ashok Chadha have come before the public and are ready to answer questions.

But then, the phone still looks too good to be true.

While booking Freedom 251, one may have to note the following things –

  1. There is a fear that the company may just disappear because there is no track record of the company. There is a fear that the phenomenon may go the Speak Asia or Akash Tablet way. Also, people who pay Rs.251 may not even mind being be duped because after all, the price is no big deal. But then the company stands to make whopping Rs. 12.5 billion rupees even if 5 crore handsets are booked. .So, if the cost sounds too good to be true, then maybe it is.
  2. The company says that it can take four months for Freedom 251 to be shipped. And since a lot of people will end up booking, there is a chance that there many of them will not receive them on time, even if Ringing Bells acts in good faith.
  3. Though Freedom 251 is covered by a one-year warranty, there is no return policy mentioned on the site.
  4. A stark thing to note is that Freedom 251 is widely marketed with ‘Make in India’ tagline. But the phone’s design and aesthetics resemble that of Adcom Ikon 4 which is being sold for Rs.4000. Ringing Bells also has stated the technical support is offered by Adcom. Since Adcom Icon is not an Indian brand, the phone does not come across as being made under the ‘Made in India’ initiative. Adcom, the Chinese brand has denied any link with Freedom 251 and its marketing head in India said, “We have no idea that our branding is being used on Freedom 251.”
  5. Freedom 251 is first accepting the orders and then making the phone. Experts say that it would be ideal for the company to  produce some 50000 units and sell them first. In the present  case, one has to pay the price and wait for four months. As mentioned in the previous point, Adcom has denied any connection with Freedom 251, so in case the former decides to sue the latter and the manufacturing process comes to the halt, the shipping date of Freedom 251 will be impacted or worse, it could be the end of the story.
  6. Industry experts agree with Indian Cellular Association which has kept the minimum price of a 3G smartphone to Rs.2700. The experts say that the cost of spare parts alone come to Rs.1600. So, the extremely dirt-cheap price of Rs. 251 for a smartphone does raise eyebrows.
  7. Freedom 251 is not the first smartphone from Ringing Bells. It has been learnt that the company released a smartphone called Smart 101 which had just about the same features but the company failed to fulfill the orders.
  8. There is a chance that you may receive a faulty piece. So factor in the cost of traveling to the service center, because the company does not have a returns policy in place. The cost of repair will obviously be higher than the cost of the phone.
  9. Cheap phones often run into many problems including the case of the feared battery explosion.
  10. Please note that Freedom 251 has not given any information on the SAR value of the phone. It is mandatory for smartphone manufacturers to disclose SAR value. If it is high, then it can cause health complications.
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