Mobile Phones Through the Ages

By: J Tillotson

The first mobile phones introduced in the UK could only just be called 'mobile'. They resembled a house brick, if not in colour then certainly in size, and cost more than the car you used them in. The only accessory was the extraordinary briefcase-sized battery and receiver pack you had to cart around with it, and an integrated camera was just the stuff of dreams.

That was 22 years ago, in 1985. Vodafone was the first commercially available network, operating from a head office located above a curry house in Newbury. The only people able to have a mobile phone in the mid 80's were 'yuppies', or well-off young business folk.

Cellnet (later to become O2) were the next on the scene, forecasting just 1 million customers in their first year. Until One2One (now T-Mobile) came along in 1993 the mobile phone market belonged solely to these two providers.

As well as being the first commercial network, Vodafone also has the distinction of being the first to offer the pay as you go service. This tariff was revolutionary on its launch, and meant that you could just pay for the calls you made, and not be tied to a contract and monthly bill. Unfortunately the price of pay as you go mobile phones were quite high compared to the pay-monthly counterparts. The same holds true today.

Once the mobile phone had been established as a household item, extra features began to appear. Designers became more adventurous and mobile phones became a little more than a brick with rubber buttons. The first break from the norm came with the Nokia 7110, sometimes called the Matrix phone because of its sliding panel similar to the ones used in the film The Matrix. The 7110 was also the first media phone, with WAP function, bringing the power of the internet to the mobile for the first time.

This was in 2001. Since then, the popularity of mobile phones, both pay as you go and pay monthly, has spiralled. There are now more phones than people in the UK. A colour screen, camera and WAP, which just 7 years ago were the pinnacle of modern technology, are now standard features on a handset. Satellite navigation, Mp3's and video conferencing are a far cry from getting excited over sending the first text message on your black plastic housebrick with the double-line green screen.

Top Searches on
Cell Phones
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Cell Phones
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles