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Mobile Network Evolution within the UK

Nigel Linge* & Andy Sutton**

* University of Salford

** EE / University of Salford

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This paper was published in 2015 within the Journal of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (Volume 9, Part 2, Pages 10-16) and is made available here with their kind permission.

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Introduction

In the first few seconds of 1985, Michael Harrison telephoned his Father, Sir Ernest Harrison, using a Panasonic VM1 handset. This call to the Chairman of Vodafone was in effect the first one to be made on the UK’s newly launched mobile phone network. A second network operated by BT Cellnet officially opened for business on the 7th January. Thirty years have elapsed since that momentous week in January 1985 and our mobile phones have evolved from cumbersome bricks that could only make telephone calls to sophisticated smart phones that increasingly influence every aspect of our daily lives. But what about the telecommunication networks that lie hidden from view but which have made the mobile phone revolution possible? How have they evolved over this time to accommodate our massively changing demands of what a mobile phone should do? In this paper we explore the evolution of the mobile network architecture from 1G to 4G and onwards to 5G.

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