India, like its neighbor China, is good at manufacturing low-cost consumer products. For instance, in 2011, the central government made Akash, the world cheapest tablet computer for school students, costing just $50.
Now a little-known Indian company has launched a smartphone said to the cheapest in the world for a market already flooded with low-cost handsets.
Ringing Bells, the manufacturer, may be selling its Freedom 251 smartphone for Rs 251 ($3.6). This is less than 1% of the price of the latest Apple iPhone.
Set up in September 2015, Ringing Bells began selling mobile phones via its website a few weeks ago under its Bell brand.
The company hope to makes waves in the industry with its everyman’s smartphone.
With most manufacturers chanting the “Make in India” mantra, Ringing Bells too is planning to make this flagship model locally within a year. For the time being, however, it will be importing the parts and assembling them in India.
Currently, low-cost handsets, many of them made in China, are available for less than $20.
India is the world’s second-largest mobile market and notched up its billionth mobile phone subscriber in October, according to the country’s telecoms regulator.
But for some states like Bihar, the penetration of telephone connections for every hundred people (teledensity) is as low as 54%, with a stark urban-rural divide.
In the meantime, under the Digital India project, the central government will provide mobile connectivity to 55,669 uncovered villages across the country by 2018.
Providing high speed Internet and mobile connectivity across the country and government services online, promoting electronic manufacturing and creating jobs for youth are some of the priorities of government under Digital India program.