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Cell Phones then and now or My history with Cellphones

Updated on June 2, 2011

Always answer your phone!

Cell Phones I have known

 The first Phones

The first time I saw or heard about cell phones was around twenty odd years ago. This does not count Dick Tracey comics where he had a wrist Radio. (Perhaps this was the forerunner of the modern cell phone). Of course Captain Kirk and the Star trek crew’s communicators also did not count either. The breast badge click thingy is remarkably like the blue tooth earpiece too. Also as an aside I believe that the fip open phone from Motorola was the single most popular cell phone model because it so much resembled the Star Trek communicators!


The beginning

However I digress. About twenty years ago the first experimental and tril phones were placed on the market. I remember once I was in a Hot Rock Café and saw this young Yuppie with this huge brick in his hand jabbering away to his mate at the top of his voice. Everyone in the pub stopped what they were doing, gaping at this fello in awe talking on a mobile phone!. Then… the phone rang loudly in mid-conversation. I wish you could have seen his face, shock , amazement and embarrassment, in that order as his face got redder and redder and he scrambled out of the joint, phone ringing merrily on as he exited stage left.


Reality Bites

The experimental phase lasted a few months, calls were pretty expensive and the choice of phones limited to Hagenuk, Eriksson and Motorola only. All of these were large, heavy, and unwieldy phones. Car phones existed at that time but they were expensive and few and far between. I got my first phone just after the trial ended. It was a Hagenuk. The battery life was 3 hours on standby. The battery was large and heavy and I had to buy two additional battery to keep the phone alive for an 8 hour working day. Calls were expensive and nobody would phone you back or call you for that matter as the calls were substantially higher tariffs than conventional land line calls. SMS (texting) did not exist and functionality was limited to sending and receiving calls. The ability to leave a message or to pick messages, missed calls etc was added later.

I got a pretty good deal, free phone momthly contract of about R150 per month (about a hundred dollars.


New phones and upgrades.

Every two years I would renew my contract, get a new better and smaller phone (these were always Nokia’s). The old phone would then be passed on to the next in line family member. In first case my ex got my old phone and two years later my ex passed her phone on  to my daughter and my last new phone went to my ex and so and so forth. Somewhat like the begats in the bible ad infinitum. These subsequent phones would always be on Pay as you go schemes with airtime top ups. Only I had the privilege of a contract being the head of the household and sole breadwinner.


The death of my first phone

The Hagenuk survived for more than 6 years and met its demise while we were away at the coast on holiday. My younger daughter now had the Hagenuk and we had a family row about who knows what. She phoned her older brother to commiserate and I ended upberating her for wasting money on an expensive cell phone call. She was angry and in tears and hurled the phone down on the floor in a tantrum. Hagenuk threw out some internal pieces and expired. You should know this phone was hardy. It had survived a dunking in a swimming pool. It expired briefly while wet and once it had dried out and a charged battery put in place, it came back to life. It had survived numerous falls, even one from the car roof (forgotten there temporarily until pulling away ..clunk)! But the hurling on the ground was too much for the grand old lady. So the brick was  finally laid to rest.


My see how they have grown.

As the years and new phones riolled by every two years (contract renewal time) The facilities inmproved too and included texting (SMS in our parlance) and numerous other functions such as  call back, call on hold, dual calls, call holding, call forwarding. Who would have dreamt how these phones would grow smaller in size but more powerful in features. Email, web browsing, GPS facilities are now the order of the day, not to mention a camera, video or music station are part of the deal these days. You can do downloading and playing your favorite music. Getting a text message every time you use your credit card or move money electronically is quite normal. The ability to use your phone anywhere in the world is also amazing.


Who could survive today without a cell phone. Pardon me my phone is ringing!

Another Great Hubmob by Sixtyorso


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    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the comment. i now have Blackberry, Nokia and a Samsung tablet. I am not sure where this is all heading

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image

      Nokia 5800 Blog 

      9 years ago

      Thanks "sixtyorso", for taking our memories back to the history of phones.

      So the mobile revolution is taking place in each and every corner of globe.

      Very good information sharing. Now i myself feels proud to be Mobile Owner!!!!

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      freelanceworld Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my hubs. I am glad you appreciated them. Interesting how people get involved in IT. Perhaps you should do a hub on your beginnings.

      Thank you for your kind words - much appreciated.

    • freelanceworld profile image


      9 years ago from Canada

      Really a nice hub sixty... u chose your name also a very nice way :P enjoyed reading some of ur techy hubs.. myself too a techno-holic and right now playing with a toy named mda vario 3 or AT&T Tilt.. started my journey with a small motola handset a long back agao... its really a changing world. KeeP hubbing :)

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Bobby Each to his own. I guess some people find the additional featires useful. You have a choice, of course, and can buy phones wihout camera capabilities. My current Nokia is a business phone with no camera.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      hi.. i am from india,, and in a country lke india wher the development is so slow.. but it see,s that cell phone industry has grown so fast that every third indian has acell phone. from the poorest to the richest has a phone here.. i guess the cell phones has made our lives easy to a very great extent,, but the technology of the phones is getting misuesed,, the cameras and the vedeiong has to be barred..

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I guess we're just a couple of old geezers who want to keep life simple. What a novel idea.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Yep you are right. the same applies to faxes too.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      We did just fine sixtyorso. I've lived through many an "emergency" without one in my life. I guess it's like anything else, all things in moderation.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      CWB I guess you are right. They intrude on our privacy extend our working day and make us always instantly available. With GPS we can even be located to within a few hundred feet! No real privacy. How did we cope before they were invented?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Most of the time I wish they'd never been invented.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Blondie Yes phones have come a long way! But most technology has too.

    • blondepoet profile image


      10 years ago from australia

      Hey sixtyorso amazing where I pop up. God I have seen some of the older phones that used to be around here in Oz and boy are they huge and bulky, boy have phones come a long way.I like linjinglings comments she makes LMAO.Oh did CW just say something about your butt I am off to see this.Woottt.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Cw Thanks will be aceiss to take a looksee!

      Lingjinlin Thank you

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 

      10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      BT and Sixty, I FINALLY came across some usable butt pics!

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Hi BT, absolutely hilarious video thanks! And no I could not imagine having a brick nowadays. Some of the new phones are so small and light they are brilliant. thanks for stopping by and commenting. Your support is always much appreciated

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 

      10 years ago from Hell, MI

      This brought back memories! Those bricks were the ugliest, most unwieldy things, and I wanted one so badly I could taste it! Could you imagine carrying one around nowadays?

      Nice video, too. Have you seen this one? Language warning. Not recommended for viewing in presence of children!

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Marisue once again Thanks, you add so much to my hubs. the comments always make an excellent add-on to the hub itself. Thank you for enthusiastic and humorous comment. It could have been a hub in it's own right!

      K@ri Thanks for your comment. i like that "about the size of an egg carton" and weighed about the same as a carton of ice cream!. Yes they were pretty hardy weren't they. as Marisue says "I, too, have: dropped them (one in a toilet), washed them, squashed them".

      Violet yes that really was a funny moment.

      Thanks All for stoppping by and commenting. Much appreciated.

    • VioletSun profile image


      10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I had a good chuckle at the guy who was "speaking" loudly on his cell phone to impress, and the phone rang. hehe. I am behind cell phones, I use it mainly to text, and want to upgrade!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      I loved the commercial! I had a cell phone in the mid 90's. It was about the size of an egg carton. It weighed a ton! I don't know what I ever did with it, but I like your story. Those things were very hardy!

    • marisuewrites profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      ahah that cell phone commercial is too funny!!! The trouble with me regarding buying cell phones, is that I always want the one I didn't get...or the next one. I love tech-o but I'm losing ground fast.

      I am so glad cell phones are more affordable -- I'm never without mine and it's odd that we all have to be so "reachable..." remember those commercials - was it Ma Bell? about "reach out and touch someone?"

      I, too, have: dropped them (one in a toilet), washed them, squashed them, lost them, left them, got them back, have been spammed on them, flirted with on them(DARN, WRONG NUMBER AGAIN), received DRUG CALLS: 'it's goin' down baby!!' on them (NOT MINE, BUT CALLED MY NEW NUMBER), explain that one to hubby -- and had them sit silent as I wait for calls from my teen kids out late at night. Cell phones keep me up, put me to sleep, and probably are fryin' my brain as we speak. LOL

      I've freaked out in stores as people next to me talk to no one, and I find out they're on the blue-tooth.

      My next phone, which I just ordered, is blue-tooth compatible. Ok, you're probably already there...I'm so behind. But, oh, when I get my blue-tooth I'm doin' the "that's right, we're bad!" strut. I've been rehearsin' =)))

      great article, Clive!!! and do I expect no less? ya dern right! oh gotta go, cell phone is ringing....

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Chris yes these damned devices have come a long way and I see it already becoming your wallet with electronic banking and even being an e-ticket boarding pass. yes Lufthansa in europe download your e-ticket boarding pass as a PDF document to your phone and you simply display the ticket on your phone face down on the ticket reader and it scans the bar code and lets you through the gate! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated!

      Hi SiddSingh Yes I think that incident is begining to find  it's way into urban legend. And as I said to Chris above there are new developments as we speak. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • SiddSingh profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi Sixtyorso,

      Really cell phones have come a long way from those early days. Here in India, cell phones were introduced by mid 1990s, and started as a status symbol. I remember an exact incident like the one you narrated. I was sitting in a restaurant, and this guy was literally shouting into his cell phone, making some multi million deal over the phone. But then the phone rang...

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      10 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Ahh cell phones, to think we actually lived without them before but I can't think I can live (welll not as comfortrably) without them now. The first thing I check before leaving the house where before it used to be the wallet and the keys! LOL thanks for sharing this sixty :D

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Always glad to share with you. Thanks for your input. much appreciated as always.

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 

      10 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      The economy of phones as they were inherited. Strange they put in the built in obsolence, bute they were very hardy and lasted and are still lasting today, in some cases.

      Thanks for a great call back the past hub.

    • sixtyorso profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Fagan 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Yeah I remember those great big ones. They were also used in car phones. horrible things! Thanks for the memory and thanks for stopping by and commmenting. Much appreciated!

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      I had a cellphone when on call back in the early 90's. The company I worked for had to pay for the transmitters to be put into the rural area. The thing was quite heavy - about 5kg I'd guess and the size of a large telephone book. I shared it to the other on-call tech - he was most embarrassed once as I called him on it an it rang while he was in a shop's changing room - of course he was the centre of attention!


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