At the moment this website is just bits and bobs of info gleaned from the internet and POEEJ etc

If you were involved in uk radio phone or the early days of Cellular and / or GSM and have info or stories you'd like to share please get in touch.

Please get in touch especially if you want to correct or add to anything here.


Celebration of 30 years of the Cellular Mobile Phone in UK ! great videos on this page http://www.engagingwithcommunications.com/history/activities/uk_mobile_30_years_conference.html

TACS was basically AMPS which had been designed by Bell labs, see http://www3.alcatel-lucent.com/bstj/vol58-1979/bstj-vol58-issue01.html see AMPS video on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6X_1PcR_gs

Cellnet launched its analog cellular mobile phone service a week after vodafone on 7th January 1985, it was switched it off 15 years later on the 1st October 2000 with less than half a percent (40,000) of its subs left on the system. http://www.btplc.com/Responsiblebusiness/Ourstory/Sustainabilityreport/pdf/PDFenvironmentalreport/env_bt_cellnet.pdf

Cellnet apparently had 6 million customers in Nov 1999 and 11 million by March 2001

Cellnet originally had 300 channels allocated to it (as did vodafone)

On the 28 August 1986 the DTI announced an extra 200 channels for cellnet (and 200 for vodafone) in London( well 6 miles of Charing Cross.) for TACS

"The frequency bands used at present are from 890 - 905 MHz, paired with 935 - 950 MHz.The new frequencies available in central London will be from the bands 872 - 888 MHz and 917 - 933 MHz."

On the 26 1989 - "I am pleased to announce today that the 400 channels, before now reserved for MOD use, except in the area of central London, will be made available, subject to certain detailed constraints, over the whole area embraced by the M25.


Quality Leather !

Links to Info on Cellnet

THG member talks mobile




More Spectrum in London


Guardian article


Extracts ..

The networks themselves were small; Vodafone had just a dozen masts covering London and the M4 corridor while Cellnet launched with a single mast, stuck on the BT Tower.......................

"We projected there would only be about a million ever sold and we would get about 35% of the market and BT projected there would be about half a million and they would get about 80% of the market," remembers Sir Christopher Gent, former Vodafone chief executive who was at St Katherine's Dock a quarter of a decade ago as he prepared to take up his post of managing director the following day. "In the first year, we sold about 15,000 to 20,000 phones. The hand portable Motorola was about £3,000 but most of the phones we sold were carphones from the likes of Panasonic and Nokia."

.........In 1986, Vodafone overtook Cellnet, Sir Christopher remembers, and BT was so irate that they did something which was to fundamentally change the way that mobile phones were sold in the UK. "Once we had got market share advantage over Cellnet they were desperate to get it back and they started subsidising handsets, bringing down the price of phones and we were obliged to follow them down that track," he recalls. Ever since then, the mobile phone networks have subsidised the upfront price of a phone, hoping to recoup its cost over the lifetime of a customer's contract. Cellnet also changed its prices, reducing its monthly access charge – the equivalent of line rental – and relying instead on actual call charges. It also introduced local call tariffs.