Spanish manufacturer BQ has revealed its long-term plan to break the UK market.
Speaking to Mobile at the brand’s UK launch, Rodrigo del Prado, deputy CEO of BQ, explained that the targets set by the manufacturer were long term. BQ intends to use its education arm, which teaches children about technology and robotics to develop its UK market presence.
Del Prado said that as the business had originally been created by engineers, the approach taken had been very different: ‘We are not an expectation-driven company. We are a company that is profitable and has been profitable through the years, since it was founded. The more we sell the better. But our strategy is based on a step-by-step process and I think putting a time frame on that is difficult.
‘If after five years in the UK we are selling 1,000 units, we have made a mistake in the process and we can consider it a failure. But there is not a certain number that makes it work or not. We think we have something to offer the user – we have to see whether it will work or not. If we are here in two years and some kids are playing with the robot and schools are using our content to teach technology – even if we have not been selling a lot of units it would have been worth it. We don’t have a goal for 2016. What we measure, as engineers, is customer satisfaction.’
The manufacturer, which has the second-most popular SIM free handset in Spain, has leveraged some of its existing relationships with major mobile players to get a head start in the UK market, in particular using its relationship with Telefonica to bring its products to O2 stores.
Del Prado says that the major networks welcome them as an alternative to the big brands: ‘Before, we used to only sell in retail – SIM free – now we work with all the major carriers in Europe. In the UK it’s only O2, but in Spain we work with Orange, with Vodafone and with Telefonica. The carriers see in us some kind of alternative.’
For del Prado, price is absolutely crucial for the brand – he believes that BQ’s devices can attract the mid-range segment of the market where sometimes devices often carry unnecessary specifications: ‘In the smartphone market there’s a sweet spot because below £150 it’s very, very difficult to build a nice experience. Above £400 it’s easy to build a nice experience but there’s not much difference between that kind of phone and the mid-range devices, because technology has evolved.
‘Being frank – why do you need 4k pixels on a 5-inch screen? You won’t be able to see the pixels. Our responsibility is to choose the right components. Technology moves so fast that you may put things on your device that have no use. The average swapping time for the phone is 18 months, but if you put tech on it that won’t be used for another two years then you’re wasting your money – maybe niche users will use it. But if you want to be affordable then you have to be efficient.’