Tech firms think Freedom 251 weakens government’s Make In India initiative

The problem is the use of the 'Make In India' tag which a lot of Indian companies are taking very seriously

Written by Karthekayan Iyer | Updated: February 20, 2016 11:22 am
Freedom 251 which was launched as India's cheapest smartphone is basically a rebranded Adkon Ikon 4 Freedom 251 which was launched as India’s cheapest smartphone is basically a rebranded Adkon Ikon 4

An unbelievable price, big political names at the launch and a Make in India tag. Noida-based Ringing Bells had everything going for the Freedom 251, the world’s cheapest phone priced at just Rs 251, or under $5.

However, a lot of people, especially in the smartphone industry are complaining about the price. Then there are reports that what was supposed to have been Made in India was actually Made in China, that too a few years ago under the name Adcom Ikon 4. There was also the UI, which copies the Apple iPhone and could potentially land Ringing Bells with a lawsuit.

‘Make In India’ is defined as a nation-building initiative devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub and Freedom 251 defies that very notion eloquently.

No wonder most of the tech world is also unhappy. “It is not the question how Ringing Bells managed to bring down the price; rather it is worrying to see the government wholeheartedly supporting a company whose existence itself is a question,” the CEO of a reputed tech company told on the condition of anonymity. He added, “One may not like Freedom 251’s existence but it is equally impossible to ignore this product.”

Video: All You Need to Know About World’s Cheapest Smartphone

As of now it seems Ringing Bells wants to sell rebranded Adcom phones in India. That is not the issue. The problem is the use of the ‘Make In India’ tag which a lot of Indian companies are taking very seriously.

Must Read: Freedom 251: The reason why the phone at Rs 251 is not ringing a bell for everyone

Some in the Indian tech community are wondering if the government is really serious about its pet project. A tech CEO whose company has been assembling most of its products in India said: “We appreciate what Ringing Bells is trying to do, it is trying to connect the next billion Indians, but putting
Indian flag at the back of the device is not acceptable especially when the device is not even assembled in India.” He too did not wish to be named.

There is another factor here: so far, Ringing Bells has not even applied for BIS certification, mandatory to sell phones in India.

Whether the government likes it or not, this cheap smartphone has turned the focus on its Make in India initiative and how easy it is for companies to misuse its tag.

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  1. S
    Sahadev Nayak
    Feb 21, 2016 at 6:52 am
    I am poor man plz give handset iPhone
    1. S
      Sahadev Nayak
      Feb 21, 2016 at 6:53 am
      Joy modi ki joy
      1. T
        Feb 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm
        who is this Tech CEO who is afraid of getting identified is it because his company also brings Chinese products and sells in India with wrapper made in India as a Made in India product
        1. S
          susheel mishra
          Feb 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm
          167patel puram gomti nagar
          1. A
            Feb 20, 2016 at 8:41 am
            I want this mobile
            1. B
              Bikramjit Nath
              Feb 20, 2016 at 5:50 am
              Plz send this link
              1. D
                Feb 21, 2016 at 6:25 am
                1. E
                  Ebrahim Ali
                  Feb 27, 2016 at 1:37 pm
                  Rofiqul Islam - S/o Abdul Hoque - Vill Mowamari - P/o Tulshibari - P/s Lakhipur - Dist Goal Para (am) Pin 783132 --- Mobile No 9706748991 - Order for 2 Nos Mobile freedom 251 ringing plez sent my potoffice
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