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The Anniversary Of The First Mobile Phone Call

anniversary of the first mobile phone call

It’s a special anniversary – yep, it’s 36 years since the first mobile phone call was made.

It was New Year’s Eve back in 1984 when the son of Vodafone’s chairman Sir Ernest Harrison ducked out of their New Year’s party…

It was post-midnight at this point, on 1st January 1985, when Michael Harrison dragged the 5kg phone to a spot in Parliament Square, in the shadow of Big Ben.

He called home to wish his father a Happy New Year, and that was the UK’s first EVER mobile phone call.


Stealing their thunder…

The call that Harrison made was actually a dummy run, just hours before Ernie Wise was due to make the first official mobile phone call.

Wise arrived in a top hat and period costume at St Katherine’s Dock in London to make the official call to Vodafone’s headquarters on New Year’s Day…

But the REAL first call went as follows:

Michael Harrison: “Hi Dad. It’s Mike. This is the first-ever call made on a UK commercial mobile network.”

Photographers snapped photos of the call from the party as celebrations erupted, as history was made.

A lot has changed since 1985!

The internet, for one…

But the idea of carrying a 5kg phone around seems absolutely bizarre when you look at today’s smartphones, which weigh around 200g.

In 1985, more than 12,000 mobile phones were sold in the UK, for around £2,000 each…

Today, Vodafone has around 500 million customers worldwide, while the UK mobile phone industry is worth around £65 billion, with more than 85 million customers.

And we make more than 134 billion calls every year.

But with those calls come additional problems, and knowing what those issues are can be tricky…

What do the signal bars on your mobile phone actually mean?

We see our phone signal bars every day and assume that we know exactly what it means, with all phones displaying the same number of signal bars in correlation with a particular strength of signal – but is this really true?

For context, it’s important to know that the number of bars displayed on your phone is not just affected by the strength of the signal. Other factors such as how many people are using the signal from a specific cell tower will affect the quality of signal that you are getting, which is known as ‘channel loading’.

It is also worth knowing that Android phones and iPhones display signal strength differently, meaning that three bars on your iPhone might not represent a similar signal to your friend’s three bars on their Android phone.

If you’re experiencing issues with the signal strength at your commercial premises or at home, then changing providers won’t help – it’s time to consider mobile signal boosters.

At Signal Solutions Ltd, we use Nextivity Cel-Fi technology to solve problems for good.

We’ll install a receiver and pop a booster somewhere where mobile signal is strong and reliable, so you can enjoy a great mobile connection every minute of every day. 

Our solutions are: 

  • 100% legal to use, fully compliant with Ofcom licensing laws
  • Unconditionally network safe
  • Accepted by all UK regulators
  • Consistent in providing high-quality signal in areas and buildings where coverage is poor or non-existent
  • Compatible with every mobile network

The benefits of signal boosting

If you’re looking for a more sustainable long-term solution, then considering a mobile signal booster is a good place to start.

In sharp contrast to WiFi calling, you won’t need to concern yourself with your WiFi connection. 

No more switching WiFi calling on and off.

No more handover issues as you move from one room to another.

You’ll be using the same mobile signal as outside the building, so there are no handover issues as you enter and leave the building. If you’re on a call, no problem, just carry on.

You’ll still receive text messages! Those two-factor authentication codes will arrive quicker than you can say ‘mobile signal booster’ (see what we did there).

The issues with signal boosting

We’ll be honest, the price is an obvious issue. It’s not the cheapest option – but if you’ve got signal issues, then it’s an investment that’ll quietly keep you texting and calling without issue for years to come.

The other main barrier for you is likely to be the installation. Because depending on the type of building, the installation of a signal booster can be disruptive.

That can be an issue if you’re in a busy office but there are always ways around it, and we try to keep disruption to a minimum.  

We’ll be honest, WiFi calling is a great short-term fix. No doubt about it. A professional signal booster takes time to plan, so your signal won’t be fixed immediately. There’s no harm in temporarily using WiFi calling as you wait for your signal booster to be installed there – in fact, it’s probably a good idea!

We’re always asked about the legality of boosting mobile signal in the UK…

The reality is that the rules are strict. The penalty is £5000, with the potential of a custodial sentence in addition, so there’s A LOT of risk if you get it wrong.

BUT that’s exactly why you use a professional and reputable installer.
We guarantee that all of our products and services are fully compliant with Ofcom’s rules and regulations on mobile signal boosting, so you can relax, safe in the knowledge that we’re fully compliant and there will be no issues.
If you want to enhance the mobile signal in your home, office or commercial building, let’s talk. Give us a call on 020 3823 7365 or drop your details in the form below.
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Picture of Michelle Lenan
Michelle Lenan
Apart from officially being the most enthusiastic member of the Signal Solutions team, Michelle plays a key role in our mission to fix the UK's mobile signal problem. She spends her days creating blog posts and spreading the word across our social media platforms.