The launch of the Freedom 251, hailed as the “world’s cheapest smartphone”, caused company’s website to briefly crash.

India's smartphone phone market is one of the fastest-growing in the region [AP]
India’s smartphone phone market is one of the fastest-growing in the region [AP]
An Indian company has launched what is being described as the world’s cheapest smartphone, priced at less than $4.

Ringing Bells, a little-known manufacturer based in the northern Uttar Pradesh state, started selling the Freedom 251 on its website on Thursday.

The phone was unveiled a day ahead of the launch and is being sold for 251 rupees ($3.66) – a price that sceptics said was far lower than what its components would cost.

Overwhelming demand caused Ring of Bells’ website to crash hours after the phone went on sale, but it was back up and running on Thursday evening.

The company, based in the Delhi satellite city of Noida, was set up only last year and the launch event for the new phone on Wednesday night was attended by a senior leader from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party.

Company president Ashok Kumar Chadha said the Android smartphone would have pre-installed apps that tie into Modi initiatives such as “Make in India” and “Clean India”.

The company currently imports the parts of Freedom 251 from Taiwan and assembles them in India.

The phone comes with a 10cm display and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It comes with an in-built storage of 8GB which can further be expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card.

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