The 5G Standard

3GPP Old Mobile phone competition

Dec 16, 2011

There were some emotional moments – after hours - on the Tuesday evening of the 3GPP SA meeting, in Berlin. Nothing to do with the progress of Carrier Aggregation or Machine to machine priorities, but around a bunch of odd looking phones, brought here for the 3GPP ‘OLD MOBILE PHONE COMPETITION’.

The rules were few, but strict. Each contender had to be present & demonstrate their phone and had to attempt a voice call over the local network.

From the weighty and barely transportable Motorola 1000 through the ancient Ericsson GH197 and original Nokia 2110, to the almost indestructible Siemens S10 brick and the classic house building material that was the Nokia Communicator…the surprising fact is that given a good power supply and an active SIM card, these phones still work and do what they were designed to do – communicate.

The prizes (bottles of beer) were equally shared amongst the presenters, but the judges did give a special prize – a phone shaped Christmas tree decoration - for the Räpylä Cityman -91, a phone shaped flask (!), presented by Mikko Kanerva. 

Things are changing so quickly in telecoms and the form factors are a great example of the progress being made. From that perspective these museum pieces are outdated, but to the engineers in the room they are classics and a tribute to the stability and quality of the work done in ETSI TC SMG at the outset and in 3GPP since 1998 .

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