Freedom 251: Ringing Bells under government scanner, to face action if it doesn’t deliver the phone

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said that the government is keeping a watch on Ringing Bells and will take necessary measures if the company fails to deliver the Freedom 251 smartphone.

“Our Ministry enquired into how prepared they (Ringing Bells) are, whether they can provide a phone for Rs 251 or not. Whether they have the BIS certificate or not, we have spoken to them,” Prasad told the media. “This was done to ensure that there are no discrepancies later. If there are any, we will take action as per the law. Our department is keeping a watch”, he said.

Last week, Ringing Bells, a new player in the prosperous Indian mobile handset market disclosed what is being considered as the world’s cheapest 3G smartphone, Freedom 251. However, the Mobile Industry Body and Indian Cellular Association (ICA) have raised questions on the viability and pricing of this budget smartphone.

Ringing Bells has said the manufacturing cost of the phone is about Rs 2,500, which will be recovered through a series of measures like economies of scale, reduction in duties, inventive marketing and generating an e-commerce marketplace.

The Income Tax Department is also looking into the funding of the company and has acquired documents, including those from the Registrar of Companies (RoC), in this regard.

The Telecom Ministry received a series of complaints against the company. Apart from BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, the ICA (representative of mobile handset manufacturers) had had also asked the ministry to look into the Ringing Bells issue.

ICA maintained that this device with the said specifications cannot be sold below Rs 3,500 even after a subsidized sale. The Noida-based firm was also surrounded by a controversy that the company was spotted with Chinese company, Adcom’s casing. In spite of the controversies, Ringing Bells were able to receive over 6 crore registrations in two days due to the company’s offer.

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