Nokia rinGo

Nokia rinGo

The UK's first PAYG Nokia

  • Date launched: 1996 (original version), 1997 (revised version available in the UK)
  • Network: NMT, ETACS
  • Form: Candy bar
  • Size: 55(w)x152(h)x33(d) mm
  • Weight: 235g
  • Cost new: £99 with Vodafone Pay as You Talk
  • Can you use it today: No

The Nokia rinGo concept began with a cheap, basic phone for the NMT network in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Vodafone brought it to Britain the following year when they offered a Nokia rinGo as one option in their new Pay As You Talk package, one of the first contract free talk plans in the UK. The rinGo became Britain's first PAYG Nokia handset.

The rinGo was an earnest attempt by Nokia to make a phone that was very easy to use. However, they went too far in their quest for simplicity. The rinGo became known as the Bimbo phone and women consumers in Sweden, in particular, reacted badly to it.

Nokia's media spokesman, Lars Bjarnemark, was keen to point out that it should not be seen as a bimbo phone, although he explained that Nokia was targeting less technical users, who were women and pensioners. [1]

The original rinGo was certainly simple to use, or you could say devoid of features. It came in a grey/green colour and was pre-programmed to be ready to use out of the box. In Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands the rinGo was sold with air-time included in the package. Nokia also sold the phone in Thailand where it was marketed as the Wave900.

An improved version came along in 1997, which combined the accept and reject call buttons in one big oval shaped button. The new rinGo came with an integrated battery, an improved sleeker design and in a large range of colours.

It was an ETACS version of this phone that Vodafone adopted for its new PAYG service in 1997. Although the UK version seems to have been only available in charcoal grey. The Nokia rinGo has the distinction of being the first Nokia handset available on Pay As You Go in the UK.

The rinGo went through a further revision in 1998. This time it acquired the Navi key used on the Nokia 5110 and became substantially smaller and lighter than the previous rinGo. However, this model was only available in Italy.

Memories of the Nokia rinGo quickly faded as newer and lighter models soon replaced it.

Collectors' information

The Nokia rinGo is quite a rare phone.

References

1. The Nokia Revolution by Dan Stainbock, 2001 Amacon p284

Add your comments

"I have a black ringo I think I also have box stand and charger
I was wondering if you could tell me it's value if any ? Thanks ." Sean darke 05/06/2012
"Hi,

These are quite rare in the UK. They come up on eBay from time to time, so it's hard to be very precise on value. I would say around £20.

best regards" Steven 05/09/2012
"I have 2 x Nokia Ringo as per picture above. Both with chargers, both switching on and charging. Any enthusiasts want to buy them. I had both from new bought from Tandy (went bust shortly after) Circa 1997/98" David 07/21/2015
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