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Buying and selling second hand mobile phones has become a multimillion pound business in recent years, with a number of key players collecting hundreds of thousands every month.

One of those companies is Fonebank. Based in Holborn in central London, it typically makes its money by buying handsets from consumers and selling them abroad at a higher margin.

But the process in which it procures these devices is anything but simple.

Fonebank is a year old, but has been in business since 2003 under the collective name of Corporate Mobile Recycling Ltd, which was set up by its three current directors, who started off recycling printer cartridges with mobile phones playing second fiddle.

Five years on, however, it’s all about mobiles and handset numbers have increased from 15,000 to 70,000 per month, with the Christmas period proving once again to be its busiest time of the year; increasing that figure to more than 80,000.

So busy in fact that its 30 staff are struggling to cope with the workload, prompting one of its own directors to step onto the factory floor and help reduce the load.

Full article in Mobile News issue 432 (February 9, 2009).

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