Looking for Cherry Mobile’s Flare smartphone? Have you been told at CM stores that there is no available units of the Flare? Are you wondering why the Flare has not been available in huge quantities since a day after its launch? Have you checked Cherry Mobile Facebook page stating that they ran out of stock of the Flare? But you’ve got no clear answers on when this anticipated affordable smartphone shall be in the hands of Cherry Mobile customers.
For me it looks suspicious that there has been no stock of the Flare a day after its launch. It is unusual for phone companies to formally launch a product but it has no enough inventory of the unit.
Maybe, it’s time to know the truth out of it. After several attempts asking CM when the Flare shall be available to the general public, my journalistic trait led me to asking the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) about the Flare units.
My suspicion is true. The Flare has yet to be imported formally by Cherry Mobile. In fact, they sold the initial stocks of the Flare during the launch–the Saturday Flare Day on November 17, 2012 without the necessary permit. Engr. Jerry Bunag, Supervisor of the Licensing Unit at the NTC-National Capital Region was surprised when told late last week by this blog that the initial stocks of Flare were sold exactly a month ago in two CM stores in Metro Manila and in succeeding days in some of the stores of Cherry Mobile including in Cebu City.
Engr. Bunag revealed, as per record at the NTC, the Flare has no “Type-approved Certificate” which is a requirement for the granting of the Permit to Import. The certificate is issued once the phone specification passed the Philippine requirements for a mobile phone. Bunag also stressed that distributors are only allowed to sell few units for testing the market but not to the extent of selling hundreds of units that are yet to pass their test. In the case of Flare, about 1,000 units were sold during the launch day in two CM stores at SM North EDSA and Robinson’s Place Manila.
According to Engr. Bunag the NTC is now looking at these reports on why CM had sold the Flare sans the import permit from NTC. In its Facebook page, CM acknowledges their continued sale of the unit and claims some stores are overpricing the Flare.
CM also announced that they are running out of stock of the Flare because of the huge demand. But the truth is the company has yet to legally import the units after it can acquire the necessary permit from NTC. The Flare is just a rebrand of the India-made Karbonn A9+ smartphone.
What puzzled me is the fact that CM blatantly selling the Flare sans the permit. CM has even announced a software update for the Flare. Engr. Bunag said the NTC is not aware of it. The NTC, according to Bunag, has not also issued separate permit to CM for the importation of the unit under the name–Karbonn A9+.
If the sold units bore the NTC stickers, this would bolster earlier reports that cellphone distributors are the ones putting the NTC stickers to the individual cellphone unit and the NTC is just providing the stickers after the importers paid the required fees for each sticker.
I made several attempts to contact Cherry Mobile through one of its staff whom i met during the Saturday Flare Day at the SM North EDSA. The staff refused to give me a statement nor he provided me the names of their officers and contact numbers for me to get their side of the story.
Engr. Bunag has forwarded my email inquiring about the Flare to the Office of the Regional Director of NTC-NCR, Delilah Deles for appropriate action. The Flare, sold at only P3,999 but with specs comparable to other high-end smartphones like its 1Ghz Dual-Core Snapdragon processor, has got favorable response from the Filipinos despite it’s a rebrand of India’s Karbonn A9+.
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