Mobile phone insurance: the history of mobile phones

by PYB James | Dec 01, 2010

With Christmas just passed us, maybe you feel it’s time to upgrade your mobile phone. There is so much choice out of there, and so many different types of mobile phones available, that it’s amazing to think that almost 26 years ago, comedian Ernie Wise made the first mobile phone call across the Vodafone network on 1 January 1985*. Since, then mobile phones and mobile phone insurance have come a long way**.

Surprising as it may seem to some, forms of mobile phones go way back until prior to the second world war. People were already familiar with the concept of speaking to each other over long distance – the telephone had dealt with that.  However, the wires required meant that conversations ‘on the go’ were impossible.

So experiments took place to try and link mobile radio devices to the telephone network – and with some degree of success particularly when World War II gave impetus to technological development. For some decades the wealthy could use radiophones (radio was the technology used) to make phone calls from their cars or, with a little more difficulty, from mobile phone packs. However, it was in the 1970s that major organisations first started to patent ideas and technologies for true mobile networks. Many sources credit Dr Martin Cooper with having made the first ‘true’ mobile phone call using modern technology in 1973.

By the mid-1980s mobile phones and their networks were being marketed and the phones became synonymous with 80s materialism. These were 1st generation (1G) phones that operated on an analogue system and cost around £2,000, were the size of a briefcase, and had a battery life of little more than 20 minutes.*

By the 90s, phones were becoming significantly smaller and were now switching to digital systems – the 2G phones had arrived. Although the 2G systems could access information services, it was really the 3G phones in the first decade of the 21st century where true access to things such as the internet really became possible.

However, the existing networks were in danger of becoming overloaded and this led to the development of 4G systems that essentially utilise a more efficient data switching system. As of Christmas 2010, 3G is growing rapidly and being exploited by devices such as the Kindle and Nook, and 4G is rapidly being adopted by the major networks.

Of course, hand in hand with this explosive growth, theft and damage has come at a risk for mobile phones.  As they’ve become smaller, they have also become lighter and more easily dropped.  They have also become increasingly attractive to thieves. Therefore, a range of mobile phone insurance products has evolved over time to help deal with the financial consequences should these risks ever materialise.

So, if you have a mobile phone, it’s the product of a long history. Protecting it with mobile phone insurance might make sense.

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