Today (Friday, December 11, 2020) marks the 35th anniversary of the first mobile phone call to be made in Ireland.
On this day in 1985 Jim Mitchell, Minister for Communications, who was at the National Concert Hall, called broadcaster Pat Kenny who was strolling somewhere near Stephen’s Green. You can watch that call here on the RTE archives.
At the launch of the new Eircell mobile telephone system that day, the chairman of Telecom Éireann Michael Smurfit said Eircell was based on a cellular principle and involved reusing radio channels.
The price of a mobile phone started at an eye-watering £1,400 plus VAT and rose to £3,000, but the phones could also be leased. Telecom Éireann director Chris Lowe said the new technology would primarily be used by businessmen, sales representatives, people in the medical field or for professionals on the move, needing to be contactable.
In 1985, the system only covered the greater Dublin area, but if the demand developed, it would be extended to a fully national service within four or five years.
Today, the mobile smartphone is an intricate extension of peoples’ lives.
When Nokia was King
To celebrate the first 35 years of the mobile phone in Ireland, Carphone Warehouse conducted a piece of consumer research. The key findings are below.
In terms of phone brands, 57% of respondents had a Nokia as their first mobile phone with just 2% having an iPhone.
Today 53% of those people have an iPhone as their current model, 30% use Samsung, 14% Huawei and just 3% use other brands.
Today, 91% of Irish adults own a smartphone.
Games, tones and what an app
Snake, the game launched by Nokia in 1997 was the first mobile game phenomenon; two-thirds of people said they played the beloved pixel game.
Emojis launched soon after in 1999, although it wasn’t until the evolution of the smartphone and HD screens that they became what they are today. 94% of survey respondents say they use emojis with the Crying Laughing face being the most popular.
For years, a fancy ring tone was the best accessory one could have. 55% of people say they used to change their ring tone to match the charts. Crazy Frog launched in 2003, and there was no escaping the loud hum of the ring tone in public areas for years to follow.
Apps have ebbed and flowed over the years. However, there are some we just can’t get enough of. The mobile messaging app WhatsApp was launched in 2009, revolutionising personal messaging.
Unsurprisingly, 71% of people say it’s their most-used app today with Instagram coming in at number two. Web browsers, Facebook, Spotify, are the next most-used apps.
When it comes to mobile catastrophes, 94% of people have made the mistake of texting the wrong person, and a massive 54% of people have dropped their phones down the loo.