Freedom 251 is too expensive – Soon someone might be paying you to use their phone
(Also see: Freedom 251: Your 5 Point Cheat Sheet to Rs. 251 Smartphone)
Let’s be absolutely clear. Like many of my colleagues, I think it is impossible to produce a smartphone with the specifications of the Freedom 251 for less than Rs. 251, and the Indian Cellular Association thinks so too. The company may be willing to sell the phone for less than its manufacturing cost, but further questions arise as to who is paying for this subsidy. It could have been the government, although the company confirmed that was not the case. This could be pure Ringing Bells philanthropy, but that’s another highly unlikely scenario. It could be advertisers and mobile service operators, who would see sense in paying to have their products and services preloaded on a phone that has generated so much buzz that thousands of people already want it.
The question then arises: why pay even Rs. 251 for a smartphone? Why not let someone else pay for your smartphone entirely, to the point that the manufacturer offers to pay you to use their smartphone? I would like to consider this as a real possibility in the near future.
(Also see: Freedom 251 in pictures)
Services such as online shopping portals, mobile advertisers, and game developers could pay the smartphone maker a predetermined amount per phone sold, and in exchange, those services, games, and apps would be pre-installed on the phone, or advertisements could be delivered to your phone screen. Does this all sound very familiar to you?
(Also see: Freedom 251 reservations are now open; Read this before buying one)
Essentially, this would bring the “freemium” model to smartphone hardware, and sounds hugely like a zero hardware rating (phone neutral, anyone?). That aside, the point I’m trying to make is that if you can give away an app or game for free in the hope that it will eventually pay for itself through subsequent purchases, there’s no reason so that the same model cannot be replicated with hardware.
(Also see: Full Freedom 25 specifications1)
And most importantly, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before, at least in some sense. Buying a phone in the US or Europe on contract essentially involves the carrier giving you the smartphone in exchange for you agreeing to pay a certain amount in usage fees each month for a set period of time. In 2013, Reliance Communications offered a similar program where it would give you an iPhone 5s at no upfront cost with a usage plan that gave you unlimited calls, texts, and data, although you had to pay a fairly hefty monthly fee for two years. .
It’s important to note here that the Freedom 251 is claimed to be subsidy-free and appears to be a “no strings attached” device with no real commitment from the user, but it remains to be seen whether the final product remains free of these commitments. . The fact is that due to subsidies and the “freemium” model, there is no reason for a smartphone to cost anything, not even Rs. 251. A day may soon come when manufacturers could pay, the user, in order to convince you to use their products and services. But remember: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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