UK’s first mobile phone call happened 30 years ago today


In the first few minutes of 1985, a small piece of history was being made that would herald the start of a new era in communication.

On January 1st 1985, 24 year old Michael Harrison was at party in Parliament Square in London when he decided to call home to his mother and father in Surrey to wish them happy new year.

“Hi Dad, it’s Mike. Happy New Year. This is the first-ever call on a UK mobile network.”

Michael’s father was Sir Ernest Harrison, chairman of Vodafone and the phone his son was using for the call was the Vodafone VT1, which was first ‘mobile’ phone produced by Vodafone.

Vodafone VT1

We say ‘mobile’ but the fact that the VT1 weighed a almost 2kg and was bigger than a large shoe box meant that it was not actually quite as mobile as the mobile phones of later years. The Vodafone VT1 cost £2,000  in 1985 which is the equivalent to almost GBP £4,500 in today’s money.

Nonetheless, the Vodafone VT1, which was the portable version of the Vodafone VM1, which was the carphone version and weighed 5kg, were among the devices which first introduced the public to the idea of making calls on the go.

The Vodafone VM1

The Vodafone VM1 – How do you take a selfie?

The 1980’s were incredibly exciting times for technology. As well as the UK’s first mobile phone call, the microchip was becoming more affordable and accessible which meant the start personal computing. Other devices such as the camcorder, CD and Walkman were also launched in the same decade.

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