Book Review – 30 Years of Mobile Phones in the UK

While I got my first mobile phone at the end of the 1990’s, mobile devices and networks have been around for a bit longer than that. In their book ‘30 Years of Mobile Phones in the UK‘, Nigel Linge and Andy Sutton take a look at the developments over the past 30 years. An interesting title and I obviously couldn’t resist to pick up a copy.

The book gives you exactly what the title says, a wonderful overview of the development of mobile phones from the first heavy bricks for phone calls and receiving text messages to the universal smartphones for Internet access we use today. In addition, the book tells the story of how cellular networks in the UK developed and evolved over that timeframe. It’s great to see the pictures of devices made over the past 30 years and I have fond memories of many of them as I owned them myself.

While the overall story is concise and accurate as far as I can tell, there are unfortunately no references to get further background information on topics I would have liked to investigate further. Based on other technology history books I’ve read in the past I was hoping to find inside stories and personal accounts of players in the field. The book, however, rather focuses on pure facts and takes an outside view on developments which made it a bit difficult for me to get excited and remain engaged as I read along.

So for those of you who would like to get more insight stories I’d rather recommend books such as ‘GSM and UMTS – The Creation of Global Mobile Communications’, ‘Die D2 Story’ (in German), ‘Short Message – The Creation of Personal Global Text Messaging‘, ‘The Political History of GSM – inside the mobile revolution‘ by Stephen Temple or the ‘History of Ericsson‘ website that has many great articles with lots of background information on the development in the mobile sector over the past decades.