IET celebrates 40 years of mobile phones

8 April 2013
IET Communications team
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Dr Mike Short on the BBC News channel

IET past President Dr Mike Short on the BBC News channel

Former IET president interviewed by national press.

It was a busy day in the telecoms world last Wednesday as the 40th anniversary of the first mobile phone call was celebrated.

The IET was quick to make the most of the big story and issued a press release which resulted in past President Dr Mike Short doing interviews for ten media outlets, including BBC News, ITV News and Sky News.

It was back in April 1973 that Motorola employee Martin Cooper made a call in New York on a Motorola handset - widely regarded globally as the first public cellphone call. The device was nine inches tall, comprised 30 circuit boards, had a talk-time of 35 minutes, and took 10 hours to recharge.

Four decades on, a worldwide telecoms industry with annual revenues of £800 billion has grown rapidly based on wide choice, falling prices and an array of technologies, resulting in the average mobile being used to take photos, play music and games, send emails, download maps, watch video clips, all as well as talking and texting.

Dr Mike Short says that since its first use 40 years ago, the mobile phone has completely changed our lives.  

“Mobile phones and devices are more inclusive globally than almost all other consumer electronics products” he said.

“Access to the internet through mobile is empowering billions of people – especially those in emerging nations who will access the internet for the first time through mobile.

"Everyone now has the power to innovate in a digital world, thanks to the marriage between the two great innovation platforms of the 21st century: internet and mobile.

“This combination will drive digital innovation everywhere as these technologies become ever more pervasive and useful to all people."

As well as Mike being interviewed live on the BBC News Channel and Sky News, as well as the BBC News at One and ITV News, the IET’s press release resulted in 100 pieces of coverage.