The mobile phone, 30 years ago: photos

The mobile phone, 30 years ago: photos

Summary: It's been 30 years since the first mobile phone call was made on Telstra's network, then called Telecom Australia, without the assistance of an operator. The phones were tied down to a car and cost a fortune to own, but they set the foundation for today's cellular network. Here's how they used to build them.


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  • (Credit: Telstra)

    The car phone system weighed 14kg, had a 45cm handset. The handset cost nearly $5000, or $17,000 in today's terms.

  • (Credit: Telstra)

    It cost an additional $350 to install and required a radio transmitter be attached to the boot of the car. It could store 16 numbers and alerted owners of a call by honking the car's horn or flashing its headlights.

    NEC gifted Telecom with a gold-plated mobile phone (pictured), which Telstra claims to be possibly one of the first "blinged out" phones in the world.

Topics: Mobility, Telcos, Telstra, Tech Industry

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • Were they those "007" phones? Does anyone notice that the screen and buttons are on the back of the handset so that they don't gum up with normal facial grease?