India's $7 Smartphone Set to Disrupt World's Third Largest Mobile Market

An Indian handset maker will tomorrow launch the country's cheapest smartphone, in a move that's likely to disrupt its booming mobile market of over 200 million users.

Called Freedom 251 and priced at under Rs 500 ($7), the handset is being manufactured by domestic handset maker Ringing Bells as part of the government's Made in India campaign, which promotes and encourages local manufacturing.

The introduction of the handset, which is likely 3G-enabled, has received full backing from the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who described the launch as "empowering India to the last person" and "transforming India's growth story," the Noida-based company said.

"The phone will be popularly priced at under Rs 500 and the launch stands as a true testimony of success of the latest initiatives taken by the Government of India," read media invites sent out by the firm.

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Ringing Bells recently launched one of India's cheapest 4G handsets at Rs 2,999 ($43), however the most affordable smartphones in India are currently priced between Rs 1,500 ($22) and Rs 2,000 ($29). Another Indian company called DataWind announced plans last year to launch the world's cheapest smartphone at Rs 999 ($14.6), but that device has yet to hit the market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently praised India's business environment during a town hall meeting and stated that the company is putting increasingly more energy into the country, which has the third largest smartphone market in the world, behind China and the U.S.

Just last month, Apple sent an application to the country's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for approval of several planned retail outlets in India, in which less than one third of the population uses smartphones.

In December, Apple cut the prices of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets in India by up to 16 percent, following a reported dive in sales. The move quickly followed Apple's decision to halve the price of iPhone 5s, from 45,500 Rupees to 24,999 Rupees.

Tag: India


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27 weeks ago

Sadly a country, where more people have access to mobile phones, than toilets.


Development shouldn't be single dimensional but multi-dimensional.
This government is on its track to put things together and increase employment in the country.

For a country that was in deep **** for more than 60+ years of congress Party rule, these guys are doing a much better job. We also need to consider how chaotic it is to deal with a country 1/3 the size of United States of America but 3 times the size of US population. The challenges are many fold but working towards it and achieving success from its failures will what a make a country bright and true global cities...

And for many who are ignorant about how complex India, let me try putting it here...

1. It has 18 official languages with Hindi and English as its official Federal languages
2. Every state in India has its own language (Unlike dialects) and thousands of dialects spoken in every district and county level.
3. To give an understanding of how important these languages are - 7 of 20 largest spoken languages in the world are spoken in India and its their mother tongue...
4. The geography is extremely different from one state to the other.
5. And to top it off, there are many religions and deep rooted castes.
6. Out of its 1.3 Billion people, there are 400 Million people living its cities and urban centers. That's 120% of US population living in cities.

There are many things that I can go about this fascinating country and its complex structure. No country which speaks 2 or more majority speaking languages has survived without skirmishes and its own problems. Now you just need to think how big a head ache it is for the State and Federal Governments to run this country with such diversity and a feeling of togetherness under a single code and still be a democracy... To me its no ordinary feet but something beyond extraordinary... :)

So to drive a business and provide a robust environment for business, trade and economy, the Indian government is doing its every bit and with it comes its fair share of failures and success which the people understand and take it in their stride...

And to say the least, India is a free country which has a successful democracy where every one can voice their opinions for and against the government without loosing their head. On the other hand, China might have had its successes but at the cost of democracy and freedom is never worth it... :)

Just like the Singapore Statesman - Lee Kwan Yew said - 'I was trying to create, in a third world situation, a first world oasis'. Hope the same holds for India as well but with its sheer size and diversity it will take time... Just hang in there...
Rating: 8 Votes
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27 weeks ago

This is actually a positive for Apple. They benefit from more mature markets that are saturated with crap products. A nation of people using these phones will be prime to upgrade to a better experience. Then there's the status of having a real iPhone. Like every other market, Apple will be able to skim the profitable sales of the top and leave the others in a fight for the bottom. People don't buy on price, if they did Apple would have been closed 30 years ago.

There's a lot of presumption behind the thought that the products will be crap; an assumption based on the sale price I assume. The phones are most likely gov't subsidized so there's no real correlation between price and quality. The phones could easily rival the quality of Xiomi's offerings. As for Apple offering a better experience, it's an opinion. One that's not backed up by the numbers. These phones will most likely have no affect on Apple's sales in India. Apple's market is premium handsets. The people choosing premium handsets typically choose between Apple and Samsung. Those choosing Apple aren't that numerous right now (less than 2%). There is a world of difference, and a lot of handset price points, between $7 and $700. Even at upgrade, this isn't a cross shopping opportunity.

People don't buy on price?:confused: Yes they do. They also buy on value, perception, acceptance, peer pressure, and myriad other reasons. Blanket statements tend to paint people in corners. Unnecessarily.
Rating: 7 Votes
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27 weeks ago
You get what you pay for
Rating: 4 Votes
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27 weeks ago

Makes $799 seem a little ridiculous...


It also makes an Android priced at $349 phone seem a little ridiculous.
Rating: 4 Votes
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27 weeks ago

('//www.macrumors.com/2016/02/16/india-7-dollar-smartphone/')


An Indian handset maker will tomorrow launch the country's cheapest smartphone, in a move that's likely to disrupt its booming mobile market of over 200 million users.

Called Freedom 251 and priced at under Rs 500 ($7), the handset is being manufactured by domestic handset maker Ringing Bells as part of the government's Made in India campaign, which promotes and encourages local manufacturing.

The introduction of the handset, which is likely 3G-enabled, has received full backing from the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who described the launch as "empowering India to the last person" and "transforming India's growth story," the Noida-based company said.

"The phone will be popularly priced at under Rs 500 and the launch stands as a true testimony of success of the latest initiatives taken by the Government of India," read media invites sent out by the firm.



Ringing Bells recently launched one of India's cheapest 4G handsets at Rs 2,999 ($43), however the most affordable smartphones in India are currently priced between Rs 1,500 ($22) and Rs 2,000 ($29). Another Indian company called DataWind announced plans last year to launch the world's cheapest smartphone at Rs 999 ($14.6), but that device has yet to hit the market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently praised ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/02/04/cook-town-hall/') India's business environment during a town hall meeting and stated that the company is putting increasingly more energy into the country, which has the third largest smartphone market in the world, behind China and the U.S.

Just last month, Apple sent an application ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/01/20/apple-india-retail-stores/') to the country's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) for approval of several planned retail outlets in India, in which less than one third of the population uses smartphones.

In December, Apple cut the prices ('//www.macrumors.com/2015/12/21/apple-reduces-price-of-iphone-6s-india/') of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets in India by up to 16 percent, following a reported dive in sales. The move quickly followed Apple's decision to halve the price ('//www.macrumors.com/2015/12/14/iphone-5s-by-almost-half-in-india/') of iPhone 5s, from 45,500 Rupees to 24,999 Rupees.

Article Link: India's $7 Smartphone Set to Disrupt World's Third Largest Mobile Market ('//www.macrumors.com/2016/02/16/india-7-dollar-smartphone/')

This is actually a positive for Apple. They benefit from more mature markets that are saturated with crap products. A nation of people using these phones will be prime to upgrade to a better experience. Then there's the status of having a real iPhone. Like every other market, Apple will be able to skim the profitable sales of the top and leave the others in a fight for the bottom. People don't buy on price, if they did Apple would have been closed 30 years ago.
Rating: 4 Votes
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27 weeks ago
Makes $799 seem a little ridiculous...
Rating: 4 Votes
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27 weeks ago
In which country will their Customer Service be? United States or India?
Rating: 3 Votes
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27 weeks ago
is part of the cost gov assisted?
Rating: 3 Votes
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27 weeks ago
I don’t see what all the fuss is, it’s a disposable phone, made with the cheapest labor, cheapest parts, and not made to last. It will likely be tied to all kinds of safety incidents. There will be no customer support, you bought it, you’re stuck with it, it doesn’t work, throw it away and buy a new one...

Returns and Customer service after a sale in many countries around the world DON’T exist…

When you don’t have to stand behind a product, and ensure that it doesn’t hurt someone or burn a house down, then products can be made very very cheaply…

Would I buy one, perhaps if I needed a phone and I made only a few dollars a week, but i am fortunate and I can afford slightly better things these days...
Rating: 3 Votes
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27 weeks ago

Now, if any government would get it into their heads to educate people and show them how much damage overpopulation does to the world we'd all benefit.


You are right and the government is doing it...
If you look at the population explosion in India, it has gone down over the last fifteen years where as the number of people who were pulled out of poverty is is also increasing.

You see phones are mere fun pieces from a 1st world perspective.
But look at digital revolution as a way to educate and elevate people out of poverty.

The more people who has access to technology, the more it inspires them to know about the civilized world. The more they know about the civilized world, the more it helps them to understand, educate and eliminate the necessary evils. Everything is interconnected. Dont have a single dimensional approach...

And BTW, Bill Burr? Seriously? Everyone knows that he is politically most ignorant stand up comedian!
Anyways, I am not here to change a person's opinion but just share the other side of the story... :)
Rating: 3 Votes
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