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30 years of the UK mobile phone

A one day colloquium organised by University of Salford in partnership with the ITP, Vodafone, O2, 3 and EE, and the IET. Held on Saturday 12th September 2015 at MediaCity, Salford.

In January 1985 the UK launched its first mobile networks. Thirty years on, we wished to celebrate the enormous achievements and advances that have been made since then and which have seen the mobile evolve from a humble telephone into the multimedia pocket computer which has become such an essential part of modern life. It was simply not possible in 1985 to envisage a country that would be able to boast more active mobile phones than people or to have along the way clocked up several world firsts, and be now leading on the deployment of 4G and shaping the future 5G technologies. Our one day colloquium traced the evolution of the mobile within the UK through all of its major generations by bringing together speakers who were there when it happened and helped shape the future that we all now enjoy.

So, if you are interested in mobile technology, heritage or simply want to wallow in nostalgia, sit back and enjoy watching the videos of each presentation made during the day.


Programme and conference presentations

We attracted a great range of speakers from the mobile industry and academia who, collectively, were able to cover the full 30 year history of the mobile phone within the UK.

1. The origin of the mobile and the UK's first networks

Nigel Linge, University of Salford with support from Vodafone

2. Launch of Cellnet

Mike Short, Telefonica (O2)

3. The emergence of GSM

Stephen Temple, 5GIC

4. The launch of Mercury one2one and Orange

Graham Fisher, Bathcube Telecoms

5. From voice to data

Stuart Newstead, Ellare

6. Telepoint - the partially mobile, mobile

Nigel Linge, University of Salford

7. 3G

Erol Hepsaydir, 3 UK

8. Handset evolution and usage patterns

Julian Divett, EE

9. 4G and onwards to 5G

Andy Sutton, University of Salford

Video credits

We wish to extend a special thankyou for the filming and post production of the conference presentation videos to Dr Wilfred Darlington and his team of University of Salford students comprising; Mike Jones, Thomas Daley, David Heaton, Samuel Billington, Ricky Ward, Daniel Young, and Liam Funnell.



Organised by the Computer Networking and Telecommunications Research Group at the University of Salford.

This conference was sponsored by the following . . .


University of Salford Logo Vodafone logo O2 logo Three logo EE logo ITP logo IET logo
















30 years of mobile phones in the UK

So, if you enjoyed watching the presentations from when we celebrated 30 years of the mobile phone in the UK, why not now buy the book!

30 years of mobile phones in the UK book front cover

30 years of mobile phones in the UK, Nigel Linge and Andy Sutton, Amberley Publishing, October 2015.