Vodafone transportable (mobile) telephone
Vodafone transportable (mobile) telephone, number 594875, including: Vodafone transceiver unit ME 50 T, Class 1/2, Serial number 01/00/00/05715 made in Finland for Racal-Vodac, Newbury Berks, Ltd.; battery pack (rechargeable), Mobira model VT 501 (UL50T); and antenna.
This object is an example of the first mobile telephones for sale in the UK. It is bulky, unwieldy and certainly would not fit in your pocket. It was previously owned by a member of the landed gentry, representative of one of the relatively few owners of mobile telephones like this, which was sold at over £7,000 in 2018 currency and, as such, was a luxury commodity.
There is also a stark contrast to be made between the ubiquitous ownership of mobile telephones in the UK now and their first users in the 1980s. The manual explains “you can use your VODAFONE for automatic telephone calls from your car, boat, or office.” Boat-owners were the target market. Indeed and as mentioned previously, this mobile phone was sold at over £7,000 in today’s money. The objects is significant because it charts a change in mobile ownership from the wealthy to the masses.