Ringing Bells, makers of the world’s cheapest smartphone, has come under the scanner of excise and income tax departments as debates around the feasibility of offering a Rs 251 handset rages on.

According to the sources, the I-T Department is looking into the financial structure of the Noida-based company and have obtained documents, including those from the Registrar of Companies (RoC), in this regard.

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A working smartphone for Rs 251, without any government subsidy, is bound to attract apprehensions in the market. Especially, if it is from a little-known Noida-based company called Ringing Bells, which was recently established in 2015.

Freedom 251 is a full-fledge usable smartphone. The target audience, people for whom Rs 251 still matters, have nothing much to really ask for before buying it. However, people who might not use the smartphone primarily have got a lot to ask. 

Ringing Bells claims to offer consumers a Rs 3,000-like smartphone performance in this mobile retailing at Rs 251. Ringing Bells made it clear that ‘price innovation’ is borne by themselves.

When asked about how the company is going to make profit, Ringing Bells president Ashok Chadha mentioned he is primarily aiming to achieve this price point by making it a mass product and save from economies of scale. Also, once their platform is well established, Chadha will opt for alternative sources of income. The company intends to make very little profits from the Freedom 251 particularly.

The cost of making one unit of the smartphone is around Rs 2,000. “By making in India, this price goes down by Rs 400. Then we will sell online only. So, this pulls down the price by Rs 400 further.

The company is also aiming to introduce its own SIM card within a couple of years (which can be the main source of income/profits).

It has stopped taking orders on the Freedom251.com website after receiving massive booking requests. Ringing Bells will start the booking process soon and will close on February 22. To book one, consumers will have to visit www.freedom251.com, click on buy and follow the on-screen instructions.

The ministry has sought a clarification from Ringing Bells for marketing its ‘Freedom 251’ mobile phone without a BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) certification and has also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to check the firm’s credentials.

The company said it has received 3.70 crore registrations on Day 1 and 2.47 crore on Day 2 (as of 1949 hrs).

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Biplab Ghosh

Biplab lives his life around technology and is particularly keen to explore the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Always looking for new ideas, and ways that can make things simpler. He is a geek with the flair for travel and has great passion for music and theatres.

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