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Adapting to mobile phones
The first mobile phones looked like bricks and mainly sold to Young Upwardly Mobile Professionals - the 'yuppies' of the mid eighties who needed to be constantly in touch - or perhaps prentend they wanted to be.

But as more manufacturers entered the market - particularly Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and NEC - prices began to fall. With the move to digital phones (GSM) in the early 1990s, reliability and reach also improved - while the telephones became ever lighter, smaller and sleeker.

Falling prices and 'pay-as-you-go' options brought mobiles within reach of new consumer groups; ordinary people who wanted a mobile for everyday needs - women and, from the late 1990s, teenagers and schoolchildren too - the latter now a huge proportion of an ever growing market.
The mobile in society
The arrival of mobiles has brought telephone conversations into a range of different settings and situations - not always happily.

People can and do make and receive calls from places they would never have dreamed of before: in restaurants, museums, cars, buses, trains, shops and while walking in the street.

Sometimes that has aroused resentment among others upset at having previously quiet spaces invaded by chirruping ring tones and loud one-sided conversations. It has led to some UK railway networks offering its customers' designated quite areas where the use of a mobile phone is not permitted.
Mobile health and safety
There have been fears about the amount of microwave radiation emitted, both by the mobiles themselves and their transmitters. So are mobile phones safe?

Nobody really knows the answer to this question and it has been the subject of fierce debate for many years.

There is currently no definitive scientific evidence to suggest that mobile phones pose a risk to health - although some studies have raised concerns.

A far more proven safety problem with mobiles is that the temptation to make calls on the move can lead people into trouble, particularly when driving.
fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

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100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...