NEW DELHI — A little-known Indian company is launching a smartphone believed to be the cheapest in the world, targeting a market already dominated by low-cost handsets.
Set to be priced at just 251 rupees ($3.67), domestic handset maker Ringing Bells’ Freedom 251 smartphone is less than 1% of the price of the latest Apple iPhone.
Ringing Bells was set up in September 2015 and began selling mobile phones via its website a few weeks ago under its Bell brand, a spokeswoman said, adding that, “we think it will bring a revolution in the industry.”
Ringing Bells currently imports parts from overseas and assembles them in India, but plans to make its phones domestically within a year, the spokeswoman said.
Cheap smartphone handsets, many of them Chinese-made, are readily available in the Indian market, but domestic competitors are making inroads, with models selling for less than $20.
India is the world’s second-largest mobile market and notched its billionth mobile phone subscriber in October, according to the country’s telecoms regulator.
But in poorer Indian states such as Bihar, “teledensity” — the penetration of telephone connections for every hundred people — is as low as 54%, with a stark urban-rural divide.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016