The UK's first PAYG digital handset
- Date launched: 1996
- Network: PCN 1800Mhz on One2One
- Form: Candy bar
- Size: 57(w)x130(h)x23(d) mm
- Weight: 225g
- Cost new: £99.99
- Can you use it today: Yes
- Value today: £10 to £25
When Mercury added the Nortel m900 to its range of cell phones in 1996, it was the first Nortel branded handset in the UK. A year later it became the UK's first Pay and Go digital cell phone.
The m900 was a neat, if squat, phone with a smart blue and black livery. It was a nice phone to hold in the hand and had a decent size screen making it easy to use.
It was a perfectly competent mid range phone that found favour with the critics of the time. However, it was one of those products that was perhaps just a little bit boring. It did everything you expected at the time, but much sexier products, such as the Nokia 5110, soon overtook it.
When Mercury originally offered this phone in November 1996, it was near the top end of their range, selling for £99.99. Only the Nokia 2146, the One2One version of the superb Nokia 2110, sold for more at £129.99.
Mercury were always looking for ways to make it easier to buy mobile phones. In June 1997 they offered a rebranded version of the m900, the Nortel Claret, in their innovative all-in-one package, which bundled the phone, connection and a year's line rental for £199.99. The Nortel Claret swapped the blue and black case of the m900 for a deep red and black one.
Then towards the end of 1997 Mercury packaged the original m900 in the UK's first PAYG digital deal for £179.99.
The Nortel m900 has disappeared from collective memory. There must have been quite a few sold, but it is rare today, so be patient if you want to get hold of one.