How Did We Manage before Mobile Phones?

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

The simple answer to this question is that we managed perfectly well, so how did we come to rely so much on these hand-held phones that have evolved so quickly?

People used to just look for a payphone if they needed to make a call while they were out and relied on their landline phones at home.

The concept of a mobile phone took a little while to take off, but now that it has it seems that everyone has one. So much so, the familiar telephone box is disappearing from the streets as they are not needed in the way that they once were.

The Good Old Days

There were some benefits to the pre-mobile age – none of us had to listen to a very loud but one sided conversation from another train passenger or shopper and we probably made more of an effort to actually have a conversation with others rather than sending a text or email.

Early Phones

The first mobile phone was created by Motorola – the DynaTAC. This was a very simple handset with all the standard buttons that you would expect. This was first produced in 1983 but thanks to the high costs of calls and the cost of the handsets, only a select few could afford to buy one. It was only in the mid-1990s that this situation began to change. With more manufacturers developing their own handsets and more service providers coming into the marketplace, the handsets got smaller and cheaper and making calls on them no longer meant taking out a second mortgage.

As mentioned, early phones were basic. They were used for making calls. Then text message came along and helped to revolutionize communications even further. Having a mobile phone became important for emergencies and it meant that you could be reached no matter where you were, well, as long as you were not too far out in the wilds.


Once it became possible to access the internet on a mobile phone the technology progressed even further. Handsets became even smaller, touchscreens were introduced and providers offered a variety of contracts and plans to suit the needs of individual users, meaning that people of all ages could find a phone and plan to suit them.

A teenager could get a basic handset with some internet access and go on a pay as you go plan to keep costs down, while a business user could opt for a contract handset and price plan that will give them regular and unlimited access to email and other essential functions.

Would We Go Back?

Now we are so used to having our mobile phones in our pockets that there are many people who do not bother having a fixed line telephone installed in their home. You can deal with everything while you are out so you can make an appointment at the dentist while you are shopping in M&S, answer emails while you are sitting in the park and do your supermarket shop online while you are in the hairdressers. You can pay your bills just by pressing a few buttons and even book your summer holiday in seconds.

About the Author: Phil Turner uses an old Orange phone when he makes a trip to England from Ireland where he lives because it saves roaming charges


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