Engaging with Communications

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This section contains a broad range of publications and articles about telecommunications. Some are very general in nature whilst others examine a specific piece of technology. Equally, some are historical in focus whilst others cover modern day technology. The publications are organised in categories and can be accessed by clicking the title and where possible a pdf copy of each is provided for download.


Thirty Years of Mobile Phones in the UK

This book explores the origins of the mobile phone in the UK and its evolution over the following thirty years covering the period 1985 to 2015. It is written for the general audience and features over 100 photographs of mobile phones taken from our collection.

The British Phonebox

This book explores the history and future of the humble British phonebox across all of its major variants and including those that were introduced by the Emergency Services and Roadside Assistance organisations.

General articles on telecommunications history and evolution

World War One - A Revolution in Military Communications

An article examining how World War One transformed and highlighted the importance of military communications.

From Packet Switching to the Cloud

A paper that was initially presented as part of an IET seminar held in 2012 celebrating 175 years of telecommunications and which describes how telecommunication network had to evolve to handle the interconnection of computers and to satisfy our modern day thirst for access to ever greater amounts of digital information.

GEC and the Telephone

An article that looks at the role of GEC in manufacturing the telephone and includes a history of the Peel Conner Telephone works in Salford.


Connected Earth - our telecommunications heritage

This paper explains why it is important to preserve telecommunications heritage and then profiles the work of the unique Connected Earth partnership of museums and organisations that was initially setup by BT but which has now evolved into an independent Heritage Subject Specialist Network.


Buzby - make someone happy

An article that describes the origins and success of the BT Buzby marketing campaign and reviews a selection of the many items of memorabilia that were produced.

Microwave networks

A history of point to point digital microwave radio systems

An article examining the evolution of point to point digital microwave radio systems over the last quarter of a century.

Radio Systems - Microwave and Millimetre-wave

A paper published in 2015 that explores the state-of-the-art in microwave as well as millimetre-wave radio systems and goes on to show that despite the increased availability of optical fibre cables, the deployment of these radio systems continues to grow due to the ongoing evolution of such products, the speed of deployment and relative low-cost.

Mobile phones and networks

5G Network Architecture

A paper published in 2018 that examines how, following the publication of the first 5G New Radio specification in December 2017, it is proposed that a complete 5G end-to-end network architecture will be developed and deployed.

Mercury one2one, a World's first . . .

An article that covers the launch of Mercury one2one, the world's first 1800MHz GSM mobile network and examines the innovations that it brought to the market.

Orange HSCSD Videophone - Pushing the limits

An article describing the development by Orange of an early videophone designed to work over a High Speed Circuit Switched Data Service; a revolutionary concept for the late 1990s.

Telepoint – the mobile phone that wasn't fully mobile!

An article that examines the development of the Telepoint service within the UK that was intended to offer people a low cost entry into owning a mobile phone.

Small Cells and Heterogeneous Networks

A paper published in 2016 that considers why mobile network operators need to evolve cellular network architectures to create heterogeneous networks comprising macro, small and pico cells in order to meet the increasing demands for improved coverage, capacity and connectivity.

The Road to 4G

A paper published in 2014 which traces the history of the mobile phone from its origins as a radiophone service through to the launch to 4G and the introduction of high speed data access.

Mobile Network Evolution within the UK

A paper published in 2015 which examines how the mobile phone network has developed within the UK from 1G to 4G with particular reference to how the network architecture has had to evolve to meet the changing demands from voice to data.

Oceanic Cables

The cable that wired the world

A paper which tells the story of the successful laying of a Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable between Ireland and Newfoundland in 1866. This paper was written in celebration of the 150th anniversary of that momentous event.

The man who put a girdle around the earth

A paper by Stewart Ash that describes the life story of the Victorian, Sir John Pender, and the major contribution he made to the creation of the world’s first global network of undersea telegraph cables. His company, The Eastern Telegraph Company, was the largest of its type and ultimately became Cable & Wireless.


Before the Phone

An article exploring the history of the electrical telegraph from Wheatstone and Cooke to Samuel Morse.

Telephone Kiosks (Phoneboxes)

The Evolution of the British Phonebox

A paper which describes the history of the British Phonebox through all of its major versions and goes on to showcase the latest models which are scheduled to appear on our streets during 2017 as the humble phonebox is repositioned to satisfy our modern day requirements.


Delivering 4K Television to your home

A paper examining the development of ultra-high-definition television and the practicalities of moving to a 4K format.