GD Monday – ‘Freedom 251 – Success Or Failure’ – Week 10

GD Monday is in its 10th week.

You can view the first weeks GD Monday discussion on ‘Celebrities Can Escape Crime’ – Week 1, here.

For the second weeks GD Monday discussion on ‘Make In India, A Success’ – Week 2, click here.

For the third weeks GD Monday discussion on ‘The Odd-Even Formula Mooted By The Delhi Government Is A Great Initiative’ – Week 3, click here.

Click here for last weeks GD Monday discussion – ‘Life Is A Chair’ – Week 4.

GD Monday – ‘Net Neutrality In India’ – Week 5 find it here.

Find GD Monday – ‘ISIS Is Successful’- Week 6, click here.

For the 7th week’s GD Monday – ‘Black Money in India’ – Week 7, click here.

For Week 8 – GD Monday – ‘Red Vs Green’, click here.

For last week’s GD Monday – ‘Valentines Day Is A Waste Of Money’ – Week 9, click here.


This week’s GD Monday topic is – ‘Freedom 251 – Success or Failure’.





This is how it will work:

1) Users can post their arguments in the comments section below by logging in through their user id.

2) You can argue and counter-argue on the topic for the entire week.

3) The thread will be moderated by Team InsideIIM to ensure the discussion is kept relevant and is not abusive.

4) On Saturday, experts and industry professionals at InsideIIM (all ex-IIM, XLRI, ISB only) will rate each argument on the thread on the scale of 10 with some guidance.

This cannot replace the experience of the actual GD but this exercise will surely help you shape your line of thought. While we may not be able to help you here with your delivery, we ensure that if you go through these next few weeks with us on this thread you will markedly improve your content. Hopefully, there will be more substance when you actually speak in a GD after going through this exercise.

Find the 2013-14 season of GD Monday here.

Find the 2014-15 season of GD Monday here.

Team InsideIIM

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Anitesh Kumar

When I first saw “Freedom 251” phone Ads, I thought Rs. 251/- the booking charge of the phone and rest I will have to pay in premiums. But realizing the truth about the price, I could not fathom how it is possible to sell a smart phone – with 3.5MP front camera, 3G and latest Bluetooth feature, latest android OS, 32 GB expandable memory and some other features as well – at 251/- and still earn profit of 31/-. I mean even if we sum the cost of hardware in the phone it will easily cross 250/-, let alone be manufacturing costs, labor costs, customer service cost etc. Only two possibilities came to my mind: either this product is an outcome of a genius business idea or it`s another fake gimmicky scam.
With all the skepticism about the product on news channels, it is very tempting to raise questions about product`s authenticity. But even for a moment, if we can assume it as a successful product then isn`t it revolutionary !!?
Reliance once imagined an India where everyone can afford a phone (simple one just to have conversation). Realization of this idea surely made enormous profit to the company. But “Freedom 251” is not just a simple phone, it’s a smart phone!! It is true that nowadays in India, even a rickshaw puller can afford a phone but such affordability for a smart phone is a far cry. Profit through this phone`s reach-ability / affordability will not be only for the “Ringing Bell” but also for the thousands of Android App developers / companies, social media etc. Moreover, it`s not all about profit – a low cost smart phone also means penetration in a very rural market full of future opportunity for businesses want to tap, using customer behavior, online buying habits, and related big data.
For now, it is very early to say anything objective about the fate of Freedom 251. Only the time will say, that whether it will be FAILED scam or SUCCESSFUL genius business idea. I pray for the later one !!!

Team Insideiim

For a topic as popular this, you may not get so long to talk. People will cut you especially because large part of your start is inconsequential – it gives facts we all know and tells us what you feel about the phone or think about it which doesn’t really set the agenda well. Now you did get better eventually but you risk putting off the panel with the start. Point about android developers, social media, consumer behaviour etc. were good. 6/10

Ankit Maheshwari

251, The Ringing Bell which has really rang the bell in the ears of every Indian. Almost having all the facilities which an android phone should have, Ringing Bell has really turned the odds.

Just in couple of days registration in Crores and still counting. After the income tax raid when the CEO says they still have a profit of 31 accounted in the price, it really surprises us.

Coming to the current pricing, the first thing comes in mind is what kind of technology they are using which can assemble a phone in just 251. After lot of registrations and orders if these deliveries take place
this would be remarkable in this decade. The success would not only be attributed to the company but to the entire nation. At the same time our skepticism on its failure is also significant enough, as this could be a scam with the same odds of its being genuine.

So at the point of time it is very difficult to say on its success or failure from the consumer point of view, but coming to the company perspective according to me its a huge success.

In just couple of days their website got millions of hits and almost everyone in the nation knows about the company.Is it not enough for them to call it successful?

Companies spend millions of rupees just to achieve the same thing that Ringing Bell has achieved in these few days. Is it not a more of marketing than a sell?

Assuming that the company bares loss on each phone in its sell, but in future if the company starts something else (may be something creative like 251) will it need any kind of advertisement or marketing? As they
have already set their image in the market, just needs a finishing by delivering those mobiles in time. So considering all of these according to me it is a huge success for the company.

Team Insideiim

I am afraid although you have some valid points – your articulation is very poor. You need to work on how you communicate. Also, not sure about some of the facts mentioned in the second para. 4.5/10


As Anitesh said, only time will tell whether the Freedom 251 smartphone will be a success or a failure. However, keeping the current proceedings in mind and looking at the current scenario, one can say that the company has been successful in capturing the consumers’ attention, whether these prospective buyers are curious iPhone owners or genuine buyers looking to cut a good deal.
The hype around the price and the media terming it as a marketing ploy may be because the entire situation “rings a bell.” How? Why? Cue the Aakash tablet launched by DataWind in 2011 whose low price made headlines. There, though, the low cost could be attributed to the government support received by the company in the form of subsidies, waivers, etc. But, what about the Freedom 251? With the company claiming to have no government support, a price as low as Rs. 251 with Rs. 31 accounting for profit, seems incredulous – almost too good to be true. And here is where the doubt settles in. Is it really true? Or is is really too good to be true?
The media seems to worsen the situation. While those who possess a positive/curious mindset are keen to lay their hands on the phone, there are others who are second guessing the phone’s ingenuity and thus, are siding towards the media. And the question arises: will the Freedom 251 bring with it success or failure? Has it already become a success/failure?
If we focus merely on the current scenario, the magnitude of talk revolving around the phone, the attention that it has managed to capture, all of it points to one thing: yes, the Freedom 251 is definitely moving in the right direction. Ringing Bells merely has to prove to the nation and the rest of the world which is watching, that they have not only come up with a revolutionary idea but have also had the means to put it on the plate. If it manages to do that, you bet it will be a success.
On the other hand, if all this hype turns out to be just that – a hype – then, the company will not only have to face disgust from potential customers, but also a lack of trust from all around. In spite of that, it will have been successful in making itself known, a deed which would have otherwise taken a lot more investment. Whether this success will be morally correct or not is a matter altogether different. Successful, though, it would definitely be. A little more in one case, a little less in the other.


On the other hand, we could question the company’s objectives. Did it come forth with the Freedom 251 just so that it could claim the tag, “cheapest smartphone in the world”? Does the company merely want to increase sales? Or did it really come out with the Freedom 251 so that a smartphone is affordable for the rural market? If the latter is the case, then again the question arises, “How do you expect the rural market to take advantage of buying a phone which is only available through the internet?” A quite low percentage of the rural market has mobile phone penetration, let alone access to the internet. In such a situation, it’s difficult to say whether the Forever 251 smartphone will be a success in the rural market.

Team Insideiim

It is good that you have given two sides of the story but it needs to come out in one GD. This was split over two days! Anyway I’m glad someone spoke about Aakash Tablet but it’s a pity you weren’t able to build on it at all. ‘Quite a low percentage of rural market has mobile phone penetration’ – can you justify such a sweeping statement with facts please – you will realise that you are probably wrong here. Promising overall and decent articulation but still not quite unto the mark 6.5/10

Team Insideiim

The overall quality of the GD was quite low – even the participation was low. None of the participants had any data or statistics to back their any of their claim. There are two stories on this topic on InsideIIM itself by experts which could have been used to attempt this GD. Data on cost of manufacturing phones – the Make in India angle – is the phone actually being manufactured here or just assembled – is it just a marketing ploy – possible future revenue streams – any global benchmarks/case studies to compare – impact on rural consumer habits with data – Previous examples of TATA Nano and Akash Tablet in India and their failure – it was an easy topic and a lot could have been said.