Mobile phone history

Vintage mobile phones

Do you remember when you bought your first mobile phone? Perhaps you were able to stump up the £3000 needed for a cell phone back in 1985, or perhaps you got mobile when digital came along in the early 90s, or when the first pay-as-you-go service began in 1997? Everyone has their own story.

Despite being as common as a Bic Biro, the mobile phone has remained a highly visible 'badge' product, reflecting its owner's outlook and values. Whether you are a top executive or a teenager, certain phones have been the coolest on the planet for a short space of time.

In recent years, values of early mobile phones have nearly outstripped their cost back in the day. The mobile phone is now also a serious investment as well as an important piece of social history.

New features:

Mobile phone collection for sale

I spotted this . There are over 500 phones for sale in one lot. The collection includes a Motorola 8000X and an 8000S, some early Technophones and a number of the first phones from the 80s. Most of the Nokias are there from the Cityman 1320, through to 8850 and everything else in between. If you fancy a comprehensive collection of phones charting the important years of mobile phone development, then this is for you. There is only one snag, the price. The auction is starting at £20,000.

History of 3G

Almost 10 years ago on 3/3/2003 the first 3G consumer phone network opened for business in the UK. Read about the History of 3G

Mobile phone anniversaries:

We can look forward to these new anniversaries in 2013.

40 years: on 3 April 1973 Dr Martin Cooper made the first call on a cellular network on using a prototype Motorola DynaTAC phone.

30 years: on 6 March 1983 the Motorola 8000X went on sale in the USA. It was the world's first hand portable mobile phone.

20 years: on 7 September 1993 Mercury's One2One service started. There were two handsets, the M200 and M300. It was the first UK service for consumers and the first on the new PCN frequency. Mercury is now T-Mobile in the UK.

10 years: on 3/3/2003 the UK's first third generation mobile service operated by '3' started. The first handset is the NEC e606.

Twenty years of texting

Would you believe it, we have had twenty years of text messages.  On 3 December 1992, Neil Papworth, sent the world's first text "Merry Christmas" to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis, who received it on an Orbitel TPU 901.

First phone with the Nokia tune

We all know the distinctive Nokia tune. Nokia first introduced this as ringtone on their flagship business phone the 2110, back in 1994. Check out our updated feature on the Nokia 2110

Nokia phones

Have you ever wondered how Nokia managed to dominate the mobile phone market in the 90s and early 2000s? Their divide and conquer approach offered a phone for every taste.

Lost property ticked for mobile phone, 1986

Lost on the Tube

I spotted this ticket on a mobile phone in the Transport for London Lost Property Office in Baker Street. It was abandoned on the Tube in 1986. Read more: Mobiles left on the Tube

The Motorola 9800X cost 1765 in 1989

What price a mobile phone?

How much did mobiles cost in the 80s and 90s? Read our new article about the most expensive phones. See How much did mobile phones cost?


Mobile phone history

Celebrating mobile life