Handset brand BenQ plans swift return to UK with BT Fusion tie-up

The BenQ brand is thought to be returning to the UK less than a year after its mobile handset business went into administration. It is understood that BenQ is in talks with BT to manufacture phones for its fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) service BT Fusion.

BenQ Mobile UK went into administration at the end of last year with the loss of about 30 jobs, including managing director Philip Rambech and head of marketing Louise Forbes (MW November 2, 2006), just weeks after the company pulled the plug on its German operation.

But sources claim it has been working on a “re-entry strategy” in recent months in the fixed-to-mobile arena. Talks are understood to be continuing with BT but it is not yet clear whether the phones would be BenQ branded or co-branded. Insiders claim BenQ realised it can’t compete with the likes of Nokia and Motorola but thinks it has found a niche as a provider of FMC devices, which are less of a priority for the bigger players.

Taiwanese electronics group BenQ took over Siemens’ struggling mobile division in 2005 but admitted soon afterwards that it could not afford the German business because there was only a “very slim chance” of turning it around.

BenQ Mobile Germany was a key supplier to BenQ Mobile UK.

It is not known what Rambech has been doing since leaving BenQ but Forbes is understood to have joined Sony Ericsson UK and Ireland this month as marketing manager reporting to head of marketing David Hilton.

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