20 years ago this week I got my first mobile phone.


  1. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    The NEC 9A. :D

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    Bought second hand for 100 pounds from a local dealer in Bristol. Had to get the ESN changed due to default by the previous owner. Signed up for a one year Vodafone contract with UniqueAir of Oxford at 20 pounds p/m, calls cost 25p minute, billed in 30 second increments. In those days you didn't buy your air-time directly from the carrier, you dealt with an air-time provider. Can still remember my original mobile number as well...0836 213894

    nec_9a.jpg

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  2. wyndslash

    wyndslash Well-Known Member

    how nostalgic :D
  3. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid. Guide

    I have to ask - how good was the coverage back then?
  4. gtbarry

    gtbarry Well-Known Member

    watching youtube on that tiny screen in monochrome must have been fun
  5. Revenant Ghost

    Revenant Ghost Well-Known Member

    The antenna on that relic is huge! How can you carry something around like that?
  6. Revenant Ghost

    Revenant Ghost Well-Known Member

    But then again, it could be worse.

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  7. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid. Guide

  8. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    In towns, cities and major roads it was usually OK. Go out in the countryside or villages though, it was pretty much forget it.

    There was a thing one had to remember with the way calls were billed though. It was 25p minute normally, but go into London and it went to 33p a minute. Although people living in London could get a deal that they paid 25p a minute, but elsewhere it went to 33p minute. There was no inclusive air-time in those days. There was two networks in the UK, Vodafone and Cellnet(became O2), and there wasn't much to choose between them.

    Remember my sister saying at the time, "Why the hell do you want a mobile phone, are you a yuppie or something?" :D Mobile phones being used by the general public, rather than just for corporate use, had only just started happening.
    kate likes this.
  9. Rush

    Rush {<>}~{<>} Guide

    Does the battery life back then as horrible as it is now?
  10. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    I had a belt holster made up by a local leather-worker. Of course the huge antenna stuck out the top. :rolleyes: Actually it was the antenna that finished that phone off in the end, I dropped the phone and busted the mounting, but it did last almost 2 years. Replaced it with an Oki 900...
    oki900-04.jpg
    Pocket sized this time, but still with an antenna sticking out. Again second hand and had a bad ESN due to non-payment. But changing a phone's ESN back then was very easy, quite routine and not illegal. These were all ETACS analogue phones, and there was a serious problem with illegal cloning. Got so bad in the end, you could drive along the M4 into London with your phone turned on, and pretty much guaranty it would be cloned. They'd just pluck the ESNs from the air with a radio scanner and PC.
    Revenant Ghost likes this.
  11. gtbarry

    gtbarry Well-Known Member

    I bet the NSA was still tracking you back then.
  12. Codegerm

    Codegerm Well-Known Member

    My first two cellphones were a Motorola flip phone

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    and an OKI bag phone

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  13. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Well-Known Member

    You guys are old :p

    I'm 23, my first phone was in 2007.
    A VZW Motorola v325i:
    [​IMG]

    Had that until 2009, where I went to the Philippines and went without electronic communication for the most part(except weekly email access) until the end of 2010. I then used a Nokia 1080 on Smart Telecom:
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    When I arrived home to the US in early 2011, I got a Samsung Intensity from Verizon.

    [​IMG]


    After a year with that phone, I finally ventured into smartphones with a Galaxy S1 Captivate and now a Nexus 4, running Straight Talk's AT&T program.
  14. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    From what I remember battery life was pretty good, probably two days. But making calls is what would drain it, but then that's all it did, just phone calls and nothing else. It was a large phone with a large sized battery, however I think the battery would have been NiCad, rather than the much more efficient LiPo batteries that phones use now.
    Rush likes this.
  15. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues - Crazy peacock person - Guide

    Yeah, those things were really heavy. But 100 pounds? Wow! :eek:

    Oh...wait a minute...never mind. :p

    :laugh: :rofl:
  16. nu2andy

    nu2andy Well-Known Member

    First saw Motorola Brick used in car park at President Hotel in Queens Road Melbourne in 1981. Young lass had the battery pack slung over her shoulder and was talking for about
  17. Codegerm

    Codegerm Well-Known Member

    Youngin still wet behind the ears lol... I was on my 15th phone by 2007 now on number 16. :p
  18. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Well-Known Member Contributor

    the NEC TalkTime and DigitalTalk brand handsets were actually quite modern for their time. clock/calendar, large contact memory, the ability to two-way text and email on some models, and great coverage. not bad for a dot-matrix alphanumeric LCD. menus were a bit cryptic though. i had a DigitalTalk 2000 once that i used for a few months, the battery was almost gone and you couldn't get a replacement. the TDMA/AMPS shutdown in 2008 killed that phone.
  19. sfbloodbrother

    sfbloodbrother Well-Known Member

    Wow, I didn't know NEC made phones. Looks like a great artifact right there.
  20. nu2andy

    nu2andy Well-Known Member

    I'm on my 8th. cell phone. Motorola Flip 1992, Nokia 6015 x 2 1995, Nokia 3315 2003, Panasonic GD55 2004, Huawei Ideos U8150 x 2 2011, Huawei U8800 x2 2012.
    The Panasonic GD 55 was classed as the worlds smallest GSM phone. You need good eyesight when reading/writing messages and when I think of the Motorola 8000 Brick in comparison - you can't help laughing about the portability between them.

    We had to change phones from Telecom in NZ due to them closing their CDMA system in 2012. The Nokia 6015's I had were dedicated CDMA and became throw away units as they became obsolete in NZ.

    I made the move to Android (Huawei) and it's been great learning a whole new system.
  21. droid_power

    droid_power Member

    I always wondered if cell phones existed in the 80's and before, and am now recalling what I saw in American Psycho...
    I guess only the rich had them back in the day.
  22. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Well-Known Member Contributor

    Yeah, the Motorola DynaTAC ($600 with contract i think) was back in 1983? i think? that is also known as the 'Zack Morris Phone' due to its being seen in the popular TV series Saved by the Bell.

    I remember when my mom bought my great grandfather, perhaps the most stubborn man when it ever came to tech (he never wanted any of it) a bag phone in 1991, as his health was failing and they thought he'd be safer in his car if he had some way to phone 911 in an emergency or if family needed to reach him. he got a call to test it out, and it lasted i dunno, 3 minutes? that one call alone added up to $4.95. so yeah, then, the elite were the ones who had cell phones.

    i don't even recall many kids getting them until Tracfone and various other pre-paid services came out. and the Nokia 5100-series phone was the most common during the time.

    Customizations then was mainly through themed faceplates, cases, and flashing lights on the antennas that flashed different colors or patterns when a call or text came in. the most common ringtone was 'The Nokia Tune'
  23. nu2andy

    nu2andy Well-Known Member

    When I got my Motorola Flip, the cost in NZ was $1.49 per minute. Today's pre-pay rate is .44cents p/m.

    Back in 1981 in Melbourne. the Motorola Brick was the early one that had a coil cable connecting the handpiece to the battery pack. It would be very tiring walking around with that hanging on your shoulder all day!!
  24. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Well-Known Member Contributor

    there are times when i look back on early tech wondering how i even survived. in the 1980s through the early 1990s, computers had stepper motor hard drives with loud bearings and you sat at a computer that truly sounded like a jet engine. i often wonder how the hell i managed to stand sitting at a computer that was as loud as sitting next to an idling Boeing 737 engine.
  25. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide


    There was car phones before the 1980s, although I believe they were basically manual, your call had to be connected by an operator. According to the Wikipedia, AMPS, the first cellular phone system was introduced in 1978 in the US. A very long established major UK mobile phone retailer, Carphone Warehouse, their name says it all really. From when phones were too bulky to be carried round.

    The UK's first cellular networks were launched in January 1985. And the first shoulder carried portable phones were extremely expensive&#65292;they were really car phones but with a large battery pack. There was one in our department, when I worked at BT in the late 80s.
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