1. Home
  2. >
  3. The history & development of the mobile phone

The history of the mobile phone & the future of mobile technology

The history of the mobile phone goes back 120 years, but the story has only just begun. We know the most important historical events but have absolutely no idea what the future holds. The only thing we can conclude today (at the end of 2018) is that the history of the mobile phone is incomparable to the history of any other commercial product in world history and that mobile technology will have a significant influence when writing the future history of the development of mobile telephony and human behaviour.

The mobile is the only commercial product in world history that has gained so much media coverage, influence, generated such significant investments in development, operation and marketing, and at the same time created such high share values. The mobile phone has only been surpassed by wheat in terms of a product’s influence on social and human behaviour.

This presentation of the history and development of the mobile phone is primarily written in a European context. This is because we have mainly collected our data and knowledge from Europe and especially Denmark, and secondly because it is in the European telecommunications market that we have been conducting news distribution and price comparisons of mobile phones, mobile plans and broadband since 1999 on Mobil.nu and TelePrisTjek.dk. For 20 years, myself and my colleagues have provided consumers with useful information and knowledge about the qualities of mobile phones and the actual prices of mobile plans, broadband and telephones.

Our many years of experience with independent testing and reviews of mobile phones and price comparisons of phones, mobile plans and mobile broadband are the very foundation of the idea and purpose of SmartphonesRevealed.com. Providing consumers with impartial and fair guides on how to find the cheapest mobile plan, the best prices for phones and the best deals on mobile broadband is central to our work.

In our review of the history and development of the mobile phone, we delve into the most significant historical events and spice them up with our own analyses and points of view. This is because we find it important with historical facts to add to professionally relevant considerations by Stein Jürgen, mobile expert since 1999 and myself, Nicolas Fredriksen, who both over the years have dealt with mobile phones, mobile plans, mobile broadband and solutions in consumer-oriented mobile technology. We believe our considerations of the future of smartphones and the impact of mobile technology on society and human social behaviour, are relevant input when communicating the history of mobile phones.

To give as true and accurate a picture as possible of the history of mobile technology, we have initially chosen to give an introduction to the development of the telecom companies’ networks, and a little later, also about the telecommunications companies’ market development of mobile plans and mobile broadband. This is simply because you cannot communicate the history of the mobile phone without also describing the development of the telecommunications network technology and the telecommunications companies’ changing strategies in the marketing of mobile plans, mobile broadband and telephones. Without a network and an active SIM card, even the smartest smartphone is just a dead gizmo in brushed steel and glass.

We have deliberately tried to put the history of the mobile and the development of mobile technology chronologically and not thematically. Therefore, the text is not divided into topic-specific themes but presented to the greatest extent possible in chronological order. This is because historical events have the effect of causing reactions that, just like ripples in water, can influence decisions and have consequences in all directions at the same time. I have then tried to explain the most landmark consequences of the most crucial historical events from 1908 to the end of 2018.

Our presentation of the history and development of the mobile phone includes analyses of key events and breakthroughs in mobile technology, market dynamics, and sheds light on the most cutting-edge phone models from 1980 to 2018. The observant reader will note that only a few smartphone models will be featured from 2007 to 2018. This is deliberate as I do not believe that many innovative phone models were launched during that time.

On the contrary, from 2007 and until 2018, smartphones became ever more uniform and have only marginally improved year by year. By contrast, many critical things have happened that have made an impact: market dynamics, the impact of mobile phones on human behaviour, Internet usage and the social significance of mobile technology.

Mobile phones have already affected human social behaviour and the impact will continue, and with the rapid introduction of 5G network technology and artificial intelligence, mobile technology can also have a major impact on the welfare models, economy and labour market of nations.

The partner dance between mobile technology and politicians is a dance that should be taken place hand-in-hand. Any tactlessness and every failure can have fatal consequences for the development and future of nations. Conversely, the perfect dance can provide a boost to even today’s most impoverished nation among the world’s leading economic powers. However, it assumes that during the dance, politicians quickly let go of their constraints on mobile technology and allow the dance to synchronise to market forces.

Nicolas Fredriksen
Telecommunications Analyst, Founder of SmartphonesRevealed.com & CEO of Mobilselskabet ApS

Table of contents

The text is organised chronologically in relation to historical events and is therefore not set out thematically. To better understand the analyses and rationales, we recommend that the text be read chronologically.

Mobile telephony = mobile phone + mobile plan + network/cell towers

At all times, and indeed, in the foreseeable future, mobile telephony will be based on three things; mobile phones or a substitute, a SIM card (mobile plan) or a substitute, and a network of devices capable of transmitting and receiving signals from mobile devices. As of 2018, this trinity of technical measures consists of smartphones, physical SIM cards, and telecommunications networks, and their distribution of cell towers.

In the future, this technical set-up may well be organised by communication centres, digital SIM cards (eSIM cards) and the networks of telecommunications companies or other operators, and the distribution of their cell towers or other signal transmitters.

We do not know whether the future will eliminate the smartphone, build mobile communication into the human body or be smart glasses that we can use to look far into tomorrow. We can only relate to the historical facts and worry about the future of mobile technology that has already affected human social behaviour and the economic growth of nations.

Network technology controls the development of mobile phones and smartphones

Without a network (functioning cell tower) and a mobile plan, you have no functional mobile phone. Therefore, the history of the mobile phone and its development requires a closer look at the development of the telecommunications companies’ networks, the expansion of transmitter masts/cell towers and the market development of mobile plans.

Network technology, the geographical coverage of cell towers and telecommunications companies’ marketing of mobile telephony have been crucial to the demand for mobile phones. This is simply because you cannot have a functional mobile phone without the telecommunications companies’ networks and transmitter masts, and an active SIM card (mobile plan) that allows communication between phones and mobile phone access to the Internet.

Since 1991, when it was decided to adopt the GSM standard for the facilitation of mobile telephony in Europe and many other countries around the world, many technical improvements have been made, and all improvements have had a major impact on how mobile manufacturers have chosen to prioritise the development of their mobile phones.

Mobile manufacturers have historically prioritised the development of mobile phones in line with the development of the telecommunications companies’ networks and the distribution of transmitter masts or cell towers, and this solely for commercial reasons. The better the geographical coverage of specific cell towers, the greater the customer base for particular functionalities on the phones.

From 1G to 5G – Network, cell towers and mobile broadband

Mobile phones have developed in line with the development of network technology. From 1G mobile telephony in 1982 to the introduction of 4G LTE in 2011, mobile manufacturers have focused on developing phones that corresponded and exploited the capabilities of telecommunications companies’ available network technology, network and the distribution of transmitter masts/cell towers.

From 2020, 5G mobile technology will become commercially available in Europe, which will put mobile manufacturers under innovative pressure partly because the possibilities linked to the Internet of Things will go a long way towards removing consumers’ unilateral perception that the smartphone is their only lifeline to the Internet. And partly because today’s smartphones are not designed to accommodate the use of efficient 5G network technology at all.

With 5G, potentially everything comes online. Not just smartphones. With the introduction of the 5G network, the smartphone’s monopoly on mobile Internet access will be profoundly challenged by connected wearables such as Smart Watches, bracelets, implanted chips and entire homes with connected and automated gadgets have the potential to challenge the smartphone in terms of Internet access.

Listed below are the influences of network technology on mobile phone development and the importance of SMS and mobile broadband (Internet on the mobile) for the demand for mobile phones and smartphones.

1G – The analogue network

With 1G (First Generation Network) introduced in 1982, mobile telecommunication became commercialized and analogue conversations between mobile phones (mobile/mobile and mobile/landline) were opened. At that time, the mobile manufacturers naturally focused primarily on antenna quality and call quality.


In 1992, the mobile network became digital with the introduction of 2G GSM (Second Generation Network). For the first time, you could access the Internet from your mobile phone, but only with a 0.5 Mbps connection and it became possible to send text messages (SMS) between mobile phones.

Naturally, mobile manufacturers saw the opportunity to develop better and larger mobile screens and user-friendly operating systems that made it easier for mobile users to navigate around the mobile, write and send text messages.

With the introduction of 2G, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) was also introduced.
WAP is actually a scrapped version of HTTP that is a basic protocol of the WWW protocol. The idea behind WAP was to make content and services on the Internet more accessible and usable on the mobile.

However, WAP was cumbersome and inadequate, and never became a platform that was adopted by third-party developers of content and services, which may well be the reason why WAP did not break through completely among consumers.

However, text messages (SMS) would prove to have a hugely positive effect on the demand for mobile phones.

3G UMTS – Mobile broadband

In 2001, 3G UMTS (Third Generation Network) arrived, and it became possible to access the Internet from a mobile with a 32 Mbps connection and later with up to 64 Mbps. It was a significant improvement over 2G, which only could provide a maximum speed of up to 0.5 Mbps. With 3G UMTS technology, mobile manufacturers increased their focus on better mobile screens and better representation of colours. The focus was also on the mobile’s data speed and the development of a more comprehensive operating system.

With the introduction of 3G UMTS, the telecommunications companies also got a new revenue leg to stand on. Namely, the phenomenon of mobile broadband. The advantage of Mobile Broadband was that the broadband connection was provided through the telecommunications companies’ mobile networks and cell towers, and which via a router could provide a smaller geographical area, typically a household, with Internet. Mobile broadband subscriptions began to gain market share relatively quickly from the traditional landline-based ADSL providers.

With 3G UMTS, the Internet mobile was born, and the mobile rapidly changed Internet usage and habits of the population. The Internet was suddenly at your fingertips, and everything could be Googled, updated and communicated here and now. The unrestricted access to the Internet, like the advent of SMS functionality, which was introduced by the introduction of 2G GSM, had a huge positive impact on the demand for mobile phones in the population.

4G LTE – New top speed for the Internet on mobiles

In 2011, the 4G LTE (Fourth Generation Network) network saw the light of day. With Internet speeds of up to 71 Mbps, 4G LTE provided clear improvements in mobile access to the Internet, and mobile manufacturers were not slow on the uptake when, immediately after launching the 4G network, they launched, by the standard of time, smartphones that were incredibly fast on the Internet. Mobile broadband also got a boost with 4G LTE. When mobile manufacturers really saw that the time for fast processors, large and touch-sensitive screens had arrived.

The switch from 3G to 4G LTE did not lead to significant price increases on the mobile phones themselves. However, European telecommunications companies were quick to differentiate mobile plans based on 3G UMTS and 4G LTE, respectively. For example, a Danish mobile plan based on 4G during the transition was approximately 22% more expensive than plans based on 3G.

The introduction of 4G LTE also provided increased sales arguments for mobile broadband, which with 4G became even faster. In line with the expansion of the 4G cell towers, mobile broadband slowly but surely outpaced landline-based broadband. Fibre-based broadband, however, has found a life of its own, but with the introduction of 5G networks, fibre-based Internet access is also expected to pave the way for a faster and cheaper 5G-based mobile broadband.

Cell towers broaden the field of application of phones & broadband

For each generation of network, it required telecommunications companies to expand the number of transmitter masts/cell towers that could enable the new features of the mobile phones. For instance, if the telecommunications companies in a given country did not build 4G cell towers, it would make no sense for mobile manufacturers to market smartphones in that country. In this way, national telecommunications companies and international mobile manufacturers’ interests went hand in hand. By expanding national networks, telecommunications companies could make money selling the hottest mobile phones of the time.

It is not just mobile phones that have benefited from the development of network technology. The mobile Internet – Internet access via a router/WiFi – has also been guided by the development of network technology. Super smart smartphones and fast Mobile Broadband are today (2018) a result of this development.

The history of mobile phones and the Internet is closely linked to the transitions from 1G to 2G GSM, 3G UMTS, 4G LTE and soon also 5G, and of the telecommunications companies’ expansion of transmitter masts/cell towers for each generation of network technology. With the introduction of the 5G network, mobile broadband is expected to provide as fast Internet as fibre-based broadband. Something the telecommunications companies in many countries certainly look forward to commercially.

5G network, Internet of Things & mobile broadband

By 2020, 5G (Fifth Generation Network) mobile telephony and mobile broadband is expected to grow slowly in Europe. With 5G, you can expect Internet speeds 100 times faster than 4G, broadband connections without delays, dedicated bandwidths that ensure exclusive Internet access, for example, traffic services, rescue services and data – machine to machine – (M2M), and extremely fast broadband to other priority and payment areas such as police, intelligence and defence.

With 5G, we talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile broadband that has been speeded up many times and which is faster and potentially much cheaper than fibre-based Internet.

With the 5G network, we can expect an explosion of innovative applications in entertainment, health, traditional industry, household and logistics, including traffic management. 5G will pave the way for the Internet of Things, and 5G technology will undoubtedly also place increased demands on 5G smartphones. They must be faster, have better batteries and much better antennas.

Smartphones in 2020 simply need to be much better than today’s smartphones on a wide range of quality parameters, and this will challenge today’s mobile manufacturers and the wallet of tomorrow’s mobile customers. 5G based mobile plans can be expected to be significantly more expensive than similar ones based on today’s 4G network.

However, relative price trends for phones are not expected to rise. Measured in today’s money, the latest high-end mobiles have remained relatively stable since 1995 and up to 2015, and at a level equivalent to USD 1,200 – 1,500 in 2018 money. In 2015, several mobile manufacturers made a change in their pricing strategies. More on this later.

With the introduction of 5G, it is first and foremost the telecommunications companies that finally get an effective competition parameter they control themselves. Mobile telephony and mobile broadband based on 4G LTE at one price, or mobile plans and mobile broadband based on 5G and the customer’s unique needs at a significantly higher price.

With the introduction of the 5G network, coverage, Internet speed, customer service and connectivity to the Internet of Things will be a far more critical competitive parameter for telecommunications companies than the price they can offer on smartphones.

Five generations of network technology in a nutshell

  • 1G – Made commercial conversations between mobile phones possible.
  • 2G GSM – Text messaging (SMS) and network access became possible from the mobile.
  • 3G UMTS – High-speed Internet on the mobile and Mobile Broadband became commercial.
  • 4G LTE – Smartphones became advanced, and Mobile Broadband even faster.
  • 5G 3GPP – Not just faster Internet for smartphones, but the super-fast mobile Internet for everything and anyone imaginable on the Internet – the Internet of Things is coming.

5G Smartphones need better antennas and batteries

As network technologies have changed from generation to generation, it is worth noting that mobile phones have also changed. The first mobile phones had extremely powerful antennas to support mobile calls. In today’s (2018) 4G smartphones, the space for the mobile antenna is typically sacrificed in favour of better, but more power-consuming processors, and therefore, also more space for larger batteries.

It is thought-provoking that today’s smartphones have significantly poorer mobile coverage than old mobile phones from the 1990s. What space considerations must be taken when 5G smartphones become seriously relevant to the market after 2020 is a headache the mobile manufacturers are facing today.

Space for better mobile antennas and higher battery capacity is a must for efficient 5G phones. Today’s thin and flat smartphone design in brushed steel and glass will undoubtedly be challenged by tomorrow’s apparent need for more space for better batteries and much better mobile antennas.

The world’s first mobile phone

Mobile technology was underway long before the first real mobile came on the market in 1983. Already back in 1908, the patent on the cordless phone was issued to Nathan B. Stubblefield from Kentucky, USA. And the first cell-based phones were developed by AT&T in the 1940s. It was a major contribution to mobile technology, but the first real mobile phones had to wait.

3rd April 1973 was a historic day at Motorola. Engineer, Martin Cooper, reportedly had a big smile when he called the competitors and said the words: “It’s Martin Cooper. I’m calling you from a mobile phone – a real handheld, portable mobile phone.”

The phone he was calling was the prototype for the Motorola DynaTEC 8000X – also called “The Brick”. When the DynaTEC 8000X finally came on the market in 1983, it became the world’s first commercially sold handheld mobile phone. It was nicknamed “The Brick” by its own developers thanks to its shape, a fighting weight of 1.1 kilos, 23 centimetres long, 4 centimetres wide and 13 centimetres deep. The battery was larger than the phone itself, providing power for one hour of talk time, which had to be followed by 10 hours of charging.

As with many other new technologies, the mobile phone was far from common ownership in the startup phase. When the DynaTEC 8000X landed in the shops, it cost what in 2018 equals USD 10,000. The marketing targeted the CEO segment and the Wall Street heavyweights, but it was mostly people in the construction industry who purchased “The Brick” as it solved a long unresolved problem, namely, how to communicate and direct logistical issues from a construction site without a landline connection.

Despite a relatively low sales figure, Motorola sold well above the expected number of phones. The launch of the DynaTEC 8000X marked the take-off of a gigantic technological longitudinal leap from which we have yet to land and fully understand the potential dimensions and ringing effects.

The world's first mobile phone

The DynaTEC 8000X was the world’s first handheld mobile phone. It came on the market in 1983 and weighed 1.1 kilos, was 23 cm long, and then it was definitely not flat with a depth of 13 cm. The battery only lasted for one hour of mobile phone talk time and then it cost USD 10,000 in today’s money … A lot has happened since and everything has become smaller.

2G GSM & Text messages (SMS) revolutionised mobile telephony

After 1G was adopted as the standard for mobile communication in 1981, mobile phones quickly developed technically. Thanks to newer and better battery technology, the phones became significantly smaller, but they were still most frequently found as fixtures in luxury cars and at construction sites.

The global consumer market for mobile phones did not really open up until 1992 when the digital mobile network system (Global System for Mobile Communications) introduced the “2G GSM” network technology. 2G made it possible, among other things, for text messages (SMS) to be sent and received between mobile phones and SMS became a functionality that really accelerated and revolutionised mobile telephony.

The transition from 1G to 2G GSM in 1992, became a turning point in the history of the mobile phone. The digitalisation enabled the connection between phones from different manufacturers, and also gave the telecommunications operators the basis for making roaming agreements between themselves so that they could serve their own customers when the customers were on other operators’ network of transmitter masts/cell towers. The foundation for nationwide and international mobile telephony was laid with the introduction of 2G GSM.

The GSM system also enabled operators to traffic data, though relatively slowly, over the 2G network. Internet speed was not higher than 0.5 Mbps.

The world’s first text message (SMS) was sent in December 1992, and up to 2010, humanity sent more SMS messages annually than they ate peas. Since 2010, in line with the spread of social media and the social interaction on these, SMS usage has been falling sharply. The messenger services in social media have taken over much of the text-based communication.

For mobile customers and not least for mobile manufacturers, 2G GSM did a lot. Mobile customers no longer had to worry about which mobile they used and where they used it. For mobile manufacturers, the GSM system meant that they gained a global market and were able to develop software and user interfaces that made the mobile intuitive and easy to use for most mobile customers.

1G was the analogue network, 2G was based on GSM, while 3G was based on the UMTS standard. The 4G network is based on LTE and the 5G network defined by 3GPP’s definitions.

European telecom is liberalised, infrastructure has expanded & telecommunications policy has failed

There was a good rationale behind the liberalisation of the European telecommunications market. Politicians in the EU were well aware that the state-owned monopolies (the state-owned telecommunications operators) had neither the sufficient skills nor the financial muscle to take the telecommunications infrastructure into the future. The first liberalisation of the telecommunications market came in 1992. Since then, the telecommunications market has been further liberalised in the sense that politicians increased the number of licences for mobile telephony and mobile broadband.

Although from the start, politicians inhibited liberalisation with several reservations and concession requirements, the liberalisation of the telecommunications market led to a considerable expansion of the telecommunications companies’ networks and significant investments were channelled into the development of network technology. Investors simply believed in the project, and many telecommunications companies were among the most valuable public limited companies in the years following liberalisation.

Expansion and investment in European telecommunications infrastructure, which has proved crucial to the development of mobile phones, mobile broadband and the next smartphones, received a genuine boost in the years following liberalisation. And the focus on digital infrastructure in Europe has given mobile manufacturers around the world a vast market to sell their phones. Not least, this was true of many European mobile manufacturers, such as Nokia, Ericsson, Alcatel and Siemens.

Before the liberalisation of the European telecommunications market in 1992, European Union policies wanted market forces to ensure the lowest possible price for society and consumers on telephony and broadband. Due to the favourable competition between the telecommunications operators, the European states offered relatively many national licences, and since liberalisation, the national states have sold thousands of GSM, UMTS and LTE licences and so received many billions of Euros for their treasuries.

At the same time, licence holders (telecommunications operators) of the national networks undertook to expand their respective networks so that mobile signals could be acquired throughout the country. Over the years, network technology has improved, and since 1992, the European states have offered many new bandwidths, and operators have paid a total of thousands of billions of Euros for the licences for mobile telephony and mobile broadband.

In addition to committing itself to nationwide expansion of transmitter masts, the telecommunication operators also committed to their maintenance and operation. To this end, telecom operators undertook to allow private operators access to their networks. Hundreds of private players have since established themselves through whole-sale agreements with licence holders (telecommunications operators) such as MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) in Europe. By the end of 2018, Europe had more than 100 licence holders and more than 500 mobile telephony providers. A number that is in sharp contrast to five licenced operators in China and only four nationwide licenced operators in the United States.

One can discuss whether the competition among the European telecommunications companies and MVNOs have given the citizens of Europe cheaper mobile telephony and mobile broadband. However, it cannot be debated that the sale of the many 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and soon also 5G licences have meant billions of Euros for the treasuries of European states. Billions that telecommunications operators have had to pay to operate in the market.

A bill that European consumers have eventually had to pay for through more expensive bills for mobiles and mobile broadband. Therefore, it’s not up for discussion – for every billion that politicians have added to the treasuries from the licencing auctions, consumers’ mobile bills and mobile broadband spending have become a billion more expensive. With their form of liberalisation of the telecommunications market, politicians have only helped to make mobile telephony and mobile broadband more expensive for citizens and the digital infrastructure worse than it could have been.

EU telecommunications policy obstructs infrastructure and economic growth

In my opinion, EU telecommunications policy has failed. The European states have withdrawn billions of Euros from the telecommunications market, leaving citizens with the bill and a relatively poorly developed network (digital infrastructure). Telecommunications companies’ revenue has been unduly squeezed by expensive licences and by an unnecessarily large number of competitors preventing economies of scale in many European countries.

Lack of revenue over the years has reduced the telecommunications companies’ desire to invest in transmitter masts/cell towers and cell technology. In large countries such as Germany and France, 4G LTE networks were available for less than 65% of the times the Internet was accessed from mobiles in 2018. 4G coverage in these countries is therefore significantly poorer than in many developing countries.

Ever since the 1990s and until today, EU politicians have hindered the spread of mobile technology and so also economic growth in the EU. The entry of the many private providers of mobile telephony (MVNOs) as a result of the EU’s telecommunications policy may have pushed down the prices of telecommunications services, but with a large number of providers, it quickly became difficult for the individual consumer to find just the mobile plan that is cheapest and best for him or her.

The many providers muddied the waters of the telecommunications market and made it confusing, and many European consumers today have an unnecessarily expensive mobile plans. For this, many Europeans are struggling with poor 4G coverage and poor broadband coverage.

At the same time, the number of providers in the European telecommunications market has made it difficult for telecommunications operators in the EU area to create sufficient economies of scale and so ensure high enough revenue to be able to defend investments in the many expensive GSM, UMTS and LTE licences, development and maintenance of technology and transmitter masts. Many years of relatively small operating margins have resulted in the EU area being relatively poorly developed today in terms of mobile coverage and speeds on the mobile Internet.

EU politicians’ top management of the European telecommunications market has grown to grotesque dimensions. In 2015, Rwanda received better 4G LTE coverage than Denmark, and today there are more providers of mobile telephony and mobile broadband in small Denmark than in China and the US. EU politicians have received billions of Euros for their treasuries but left EU citizens and businesses with a lousy and poorly developed telecommunications infrastructure.

By the end of 2018, 4G LTE coverage in countries such as Germany, France, England, Italy and Ireland was far from fully developed. The average 4G LTE penetration in these countries is only 67.52%, while the average 4G LTE penetration in India, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea and Japan is 87.26%.

5G is knocking on the door, but 4G is far from developed in Europe. Expanding 5G requires a far greater investment than 4G, and this is going to be a massive problem with the 5G expansion. Should the rollout of 5G be at a snail’s pace? What will the European politicians do? This applies no less to the development and preservation of European jobs and welfare models.

The EU wants to be a global player in a global knowledge society, and the telecommunications infrastructures are the bridges and road networks that will secure the future economic growth of the EU. In 2018, however, it was sad to note that the European knowledge community is linked to dirt roads and cobbled motorways. EU politicians may be bragging about the world’s lowest theoretical end-user prices, but quality is lagging, crawling and languishing, leaving consumers and businesses in the EU with unnecessarily expensive mobile bills, poor networks and lousy mobile coverage.

The telecommunications companies must be allowed to make money from their investments and the European desire for innovation deserves the highest quality of telecommunications infrastructure. EU telecommunications policy is failing, and it prevents European businesses and citizens from reaching their potential. Today, 5G technology is knocking on the door to play, but unfortunately, Europe is prevented from playing in the development of applications, the Internet of Things (IoT) and new jobs in IT, and Tele & Tech.

This beautiful, relatively flat and densely populated continent is designed to have the world’s best telecommunications infrastructure. If politicians give players and the telecommunications market free rein, the EU could become the first continent in the world with full 5G coverage and become a continent where the future of innovation and democracy will sprout and grow in a world of the Internet of Things. It just requires EU politicians to take the bull by the horns and implement a real liberal telecommunications policy. Market forces must simply be set free so that the digital infrastructure can sprout and flourish and be fertile for European innovation, the tech industry and future jobs.

Nicolas Fredriksen,
Telecommunications Analyst & Founder of SmartphonesRevealed.com

Text Messages, Emojis and Apps make us dependent on mobiles

The impact of text messaging on human behaviour and communication skills cannot be overstated. The SMS functionality made life much easier and mobile phones insanely in demand. What text messaging and Emojis did for the mobile phone was what the advent of apps did for the modern smartphone. In addition to telecommunications companies’ investments in networks and network technology, the adoption of text messaging, Emojis and Apps have been major reasons why mobile phones and smartphones have gained huge popularity with European consumers.

Text messaging changes human social behaviour

Text messages, which became possible with the phasing in of the telecommunications companies’ 2G network in 1992, quickly became the most widely used form of communication among people in the Western world, and it was not many years before the mobile phone had become the key to our entire world and our closest relationships.

Text messages made the mobile phone a must-have product, and people were obsessed to acquire a mobile phone, which is mainly due to text messages that today we cannot imagine life without the mobile phone at our fingertips. Human dependence on the mobile phone started with the 2G network, which allowed text messages to be sent to the other side of the world or family members on the other side of the dining table.

Text messages became an instant success and quickly brought about changes in human behaviour. Since the launch of the SMS functionality in 1992, modern people have not looked back or gained many seconds of peace of mind for the mobile. Humans rely on social interaction and our early dependence on text messages later sowed the seed for our fascination and even greater dependence on social media.

Text messages made us dependent on having the mobile handy, and so the mobile also became a Trojan horse for the later introduction of the social media phenomenon. Text messages made the mobile phone indispensable, and with the advent of social media, the mobile has become people’s sixth sense. Without the mobile phone at our fingertips, we feel socially amputated, and the fear of missing something is prevalent in many. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has almost become a psychiatric diagnosis.

With 2G GSM, SMS became a booster for mobile popularity and sales of mobile phones. It was not so much the mobile phone itself, but the fact that the mobile gave us a new and time-efficient form of communication that created the first high demand for the mobile itself.

Smileys and Emojis – A new international language

When I was a child, Smileys didn’t exist. In fact, we smiled at each other.

The symbolic language started as cave paintings and in recent times with flowers, stars and hearts in love letters. With the first 2G mobiles, the symbol language became digital and spiced with Smileys such as :-), 🙁 and :-|. Trendy abbreviations such as LOL, BTW, BRB and a thousand other abbreviations also suddenly appeared in communication between people. The SMS language became a new international and trendy language.

In 1998, the first so-called emojis from the Japanese telecommunications company, NTT Docomo, appeared. “Emoji” is an ideogram that appears as images in digital messages. The word “Emoji” is Japanese and comes from a combination of the Japanese words “e” (image) and “moji” (character). Directly translated, “Emoji” means pictorial character.

It took a few years before the Japanese emojis had their breakthrough and became the next international language. Today, there are thousands of symbols that express moods in the form of Smileys in all shapes and sizes to more subtle and even frivolous expressions such as pictorial characters of whales, aubergines and peaches.

Smartphones form verbal language, spelling & body language

It is not only on the Internet that the mobile influences human social interaction. Smileys and Emojis also have a significant impact on the spoken language and our body language. We all know it, and we have all seen and heard it, especially among children and adolescents, how words are suddenly pronounced and spelt in new ways and how hand signals have become part of the body language. By influencing the way we verbally communicate and express ourselves, one can safely conclude that the mobile has a huge impact on human behaviour even if the mobile phone is not present in the room.

With Smileys and Emojis as an integral part of human verbal and social body language, it seems apparent that the smartphone has become the key to human interaction. Without the mobile and the mobile’s access to symbolic languages and spellings, we obviously cannot fully develop our social skills. The language barrier between children, adolescents and adults has become huge. Even relatively young parents can often find it difficult to understand what their children are really talking about when the children are talking to each other.

Using Emojis abroad can be very expensive

Emojis have not only become a major international language. The Japanese pictorial characters also put a clinging coin in the telecommunication companies’ money box. An emoji is not just an innocent pictorial character. Emojis are small images that require much more data to facilitate than ordinary text characters in text messages.

For example, if you send an innocent text message from your holiday abroad and post it with fun and holiday-oriented emojis, the price you have to pay for the text message can quickly cost a fortune, and if during the holiday week you are in a chatting mood with the girlfriend at home, text messages can quickly become much more expensive than the flight itself.

This is especially true if the holiday is held in distant countries where roaming data can be very expensive. Therefore, remember that using emojis requires relatively high data and that the images take up much more than regular fonts. Therefore, using emojis can be a very expensive pleasure abroad.

Apps in the App Store & Google Play make smartphones popular

Apps, apps and lots of apps really opened up consumers’ interest for the relatively expensive smartphones. What SMS meant for the demand for mobile phones, Apps meant for the demand of smartphones. From 2007 to 2009, hundreds of thousands of games were developed for iOS and Android, which were distributed through the App Store and Google Play.

Today’s conventional mobile phones had no apps to offer the entertainment-hungry market, which significantly contributed to the traditional mobile phones being quickly outperformed by the smart smartphones.

From 2010 to the present, the app universe has grown immensely and comprehensively at both the App Store (Apps for iPhones) and Google Play (Apps for Android Phones). Popular gaming apps, such as Angry Bird, Pokémon Go and Subway Surfers have entertained half the world, while social media apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter have linked the whole world to the back pocket.

Everything exists today in app form – baking recipes, dating, the weather, sports, signposts and a sea of more or less usable and useless apps wash up on the beach and out into the sea every day.

From the beginning, both Apple (App Store) and Google (Google Play) allowed third-party developers to develop and sell their apps via the App Store and Google Play. In doing so, Apple and Google created a global industry of creative app developers to work for themselves. A win-win business model that both distribution platforms and many app developers have benefited greatly from. Apple and Google turnover billions of dollars in app sales each year through the App Store and Google Play.

Popular apps have received immense media attention from day one to the present, and the media’s ever-growing interest in popular apps quickly made consumers prefer smartphones over old-fashioned mobile phones. Smartphones gained ground exceptionally fast, especially among the younger mobile users, and over ten years (2007 to 2017), 95% of all phones sold were smartphones.

Apps should not take all the honour for the success of the smartphone. The camera in smartphones also quickly became so good that the smartphone outperformed digital cameras relatively quickly. To this end, many stakeholders had a great interest in seeing the smartphone succeed in the market. Mobile phone manufacturers earned on meeting demand, telecommunications companies were making money from higher data usage, Internet media was getting new editorial themes that generated many new pageviews (ad revenue), and consumers were getting phones to cover all imaginable communication and entertainment needs – Internet, e-mail, social media, games, and digital camera and streaming services.

The app developers also had significant interests at stake. The more smartphone users who bought their apps through the App Store or Google Play, the more money they made, and over the years, many app developers have become dollar millionaires. Nevertheless, only a tiny proportion of app developers have earned back the costs associated with app development. We never hear anything in the press about the great grey mass of app developers with no success.

What SMS (text messaging) did for mobile phones with the introduction of 2G GSM, Apps did for smartphones with the introduction of 4G LTE. Today, there are millions of Apps on Google Play and the App Store, and it is also on these platforms that the Killer Apps of the future will be promoted to meet demand on iPhones and Android phones.

iOS & Android operating systems control the sales of smartphones

Apple and Google are the big winners in the app market. By being early and inviting third-party developers to sell their apps – against revenue sharing – in the App Store, Google Play, or on both platforms, Apple and Google have built up a natural loyalty for their operating systems. This is because apps must always be developed and customised for specific operating systems. Today, the number, variety and quality of apps in the App Store and Google Play are mainly supporting the market for iOS and Android operating systems, and so also the demand for iPhones (iOS) and Samsung, Sony, Motorola and a sea of other phones from more or less unknown mobile manufacturers, all of which are based on Google’s open-source operating system, Android.

There are a number of different operating systems for smartphones available today (2018), but in practice, all smartphones on the market are either pre-configured for the iOS operating system (Apple’s own operating system for iPhones) or for the Android operating system (Google’s open-source operating system), which is used by many different mobile manufacturers worldwide.

History has shown that the selection and quality of apps are critical to what operating system mobile customers will accept to use in their expensive smartphone. Something Microsoft discovered when, in collaboration with Nokia, they launched smartphones in the Lumia series for some years, which were built around the Windows operating system.

The problem, however, was that only a few app developers chose to prioritise app development for the Windows operating system. The developers simply saw no immediate benefit in bearing the cost of developing, customising and maintaining Apps for Windows for which there were virtually no users. The result wasn’t good. Consumers largely opted out of Windows-based Lumia phones solely because Windows did not support popular apps that were otherwise available in the App Store or Google Play.

Microsoft and Nokia took their Lumia series off the market after a few difficult years in terms of sales. The lack of apps was primarily blamed on the fact that the Windows-based Lumia phones never became a hit among mobile users.

Apple’s operating system, iOS, and Google’s operating system, Android, are in a dual-market position in 2018. Where iOS is an exclusive operating system for iPhones, Android is an open-source system that virtually all mobile manufacturers except Apple swear by. With iOS and Android, Apple and Google have a huge impact on almost all smartphones that will be developed and marketed in 2018 and probably for many years to come.

The future becomes a chicken or egg problem – what comes first, the chicken or the egg. This is also the case with operating systems for future smartphones. If alternative operating systems are to penetrate the world market, they should be targeted by third-party developers who will bear the cost of developing Apps for smartphones with no or a very limited customer base. It is not the phone itself, but the range and quality of Apps that will draw mobile customers towards the smartphones of the future.

Nokia was the first to bring mobile phones to the people

The telecommunications companies’ networks and technology created the basis for commercialising mobile calls, Internet on mobile phones, text messages, smileys, emojis and apps. Mobile manufacturers were quick to develop mobile phones in line with advances in network technology and matched consumer preferences.

Finnish Nokia was one of the companies at the forefront of the development of both the GSM network and new digital mobile phones. The world’s first commercial call on the GSM network was made from a Nokia phone in 1991 by the Finnish Prime Minister.

A few years after their debut in the market, Nokia launched the 2110 model in 1995, which became their first major success. Nokia 2110 was able to send text messages, store ten called and missed calls, and although Nokia estimated a modest sales of 400,000 devices, they ended up selling 20 million devices over the years. Nokia 2110 was the start of an era in history dominated by Nokia, which with innovative design aesthetics, high level of user-friendliness and a wide selection in all price ranges, they established themselves as the world’s leading mobile manufacturer.

If you were young in the 1990s, you probably remember the cult Nokia 3210 and Nokia 3310 phones. They sold 150 and 126 million devices worldwide, respectively, and gave the old Snake arcade game a rebirth.

Nokia’s 1100 model is still one of the world’s best-selling mobile phones to this day, even though it was released in 2009. Because of its low price and up to 400 hours of battery life, it has sold over 250 million devices. At its peak in 2007, Nokia had a 41% market share of the world’s mobile phones sold.

After almost 10 years in the grave, Nokia was revived as a mobile manufacturer. Finnish HMD-Global, with the former Nokia designers in the driving seat, who breathed new life into the old hero in 2017 and managed to sell 4.4 million smartphones that year. In 2017, Nokia sold more mobiles than HTC, Google, One Plus and Sony combined.

Nokia 2110

Nokia 2110 became Nokia’s first major success with over 20 million devices sold.


Nokia 3210 is inextricably linked to Snake, which in all its simplicity became an incredibly popular mobile game.

Nokia 1110

With over 250 million devices sold, the Nokia 1100 is still among the most popular phones ever.


In 2017, HMD-Global sold 4.4 million Nokia phones. The redesign of the Nokia 2110 was a relatively great success.

Telephone companies sell cheap phones and expensive mobile plans

Telecommunications operators were a decisive factor in the sales and distribution of mobile phones. The operators subsidised mobile phones and sold them for EUR 0.13. However, the operators got their money back many times by tying the customers to relatively very expensive mobile plans. The subsidisation of mobile phones was a significant factor in promoting sales of mobile phones in Europe.

You can’t avoid the telecommunications operators when writing about the history of the mobile phone. From 1996 and up through the noughties, it was primarily the European telecommunications companies and their network expansion that developed and controlled the mobile phone market in Europe. After Nokia’s first successful launches, it became clear to the telecommunications companies that Nokia had managed to design mobile phones in such a way that Nokia could actually connect people. Nokia Connecting People was definitely not just an empty slogan. It became a claim with substance.

The GSM system ensured a consistent user experience, and with an eye for SMS functionality, user-friendliness and great design, Nokia had proven that the mobile could become a popular public domain. Everything was set for the European telecommunications companies to make a fortune on the new and popular mobile phones, and with the introduction of UMTS (3G network), innovation in mobile technology accelerated, and the business prospects looked good for the European telecommunications companies.

1996 was the year when European telecommunications operators seriously impacted consumer demand for mobile phones. By heavily subsidising the popular phones, Europeans were lining up to buy the first and best mobile. In isolation, telecommunications operators lost a great deal of money subsidising the phones, but the money was quickly earned back through relatively expensive mobile plans.

And the telecommunications companies definitely also made money on mobile plans. Measured in today’s money, an average call per minute in 1992 cost a whopping EUR 2.4 and dial-up charges and dial-up attempt charges were about EUR 1.6. Text messages were also not something you just send to everyone.

A text message in 1992 cost more than EUR 1.8 in today’s money. Within a relatively short time after a subscription contract had been entered into, the telecommunications companies were able to realise huge profits on the initial subsidisation of the mobile phone.

The fact that Nokia, in particular, but also Motorola and a few other mobile manufacturers, had managed to produce and sell mobile phones that clearly had the interest of the media and consumers, it led European telecom operators investing heavily in their own part of the value chain.

When telecommunications operators began to subsidise the popular mobile phones in 1996 and sell them extremely cheaply to consumers, at the same time as consumers subscribed to what we today would term as extremely expensive mobile plans with a fixed contract term, it created a huge boost in the sales of mobile phones. A boost that would last until 2010.

A phone for EUR 0.13 and mobile plan for EUR 2,000

In Europe, telecommunications companies made such good money on mobile calls, dial-up charges, dial-up attempt charges, roaming and text messaging that in 1996, many operators chose to subsidise the price of mobile phones. In many European countries, the popular mobiles were sold for EUR 0.13 or less. However, what the telecommunications companies lost in subsidising the mobile phones, they earned it back many times on extremely expensive mobile plans to which customers were typically tied in for 6, 12 or up to 24 months.

During the minimum contract term, many mobile customers felt that they had paid many times the price of the mobile price to get it cheaply. It was not uncommon for the media to tell horror stories about mobile customers who had bought a mobile for EUR 0.13 and subsequently paid EUR 2,000 a month to use it. The telecommunications companies often got a lot of bad press in the media, and therefore, lost a lot of reputation due to the very expensive mobile plans.

However, there is no doubt that the telecommunications companies’ marketing of subsidised mobile phones was a major contributing factor to the acceleration of mobile sales. Europe quickly became a continent with more mobile phones than its inhabitants. The price telecommunications operators have ended up paying for the marketing strategy – giving with one hand and “stealing” with the other – has proven to be immensely high if it is calculated on consumer confidence. European telecommunications operators currently rank at the absolute lowest end of the scale when market research agencies measure consumer confidence.

Unfair competition damages the telecommunications infrastructure

The telecommunications companies’ high subsidisation of mobile phones, assuming a simultaneous purchase of extremely expensive mobile plans, did little for consumer confidence. Many mobile customers felt well and truly cheated by the telecommunications companies’ sometimes very intricate terms and aggressive pricing models.

Mobile telephony is a generic service that just has to work, be available and cost as little as possible. This is the case with electricity, water and so also with mobile coverage and the Internet. And where switching electricity and water providers can be difficult, with the advent of online-based mobile phone companies (MVNOs) that leased the telecommunications operators’ mobile networks, it was easy to switch to the cheapest mobile plan on the market.

Therefore, through the noughties, European telecommunications operators found it harder and harder to earn enough on their core services – mobile telephony and broadband – to defend significant investments in licencing, expansion and maintenance of networks, and at the same time give shareholders a reasonable return. Most of all, they found it increasingly challenging to subsidise the popular phones.

The telecommunications companies largely ceased subsidising phones in 2010, but the problem of lack of revenue is still prevalent in 2018 and is likely to be so for many years to come. The more telecommunications operators in Europe can postpone necessary investments in networks, the more returns they can give their shareholders. A priority that does not exactly benefit the development of European telecommunications infrastructure, on which European societies are such dependent works optimally.

In the European telecommunications market, there is unfair competition between the telecommunications operators (the companies that own the licences) and the MVNOs (the companies that lease in the operators’ networks). It is unfair competition when the telecommunications operators are required to bear all the costs associated with the infrastructure, while the MVNOs only have to pay marginally for the use of the infrastructure.

The telecommunications operators are forced to charge relatively high end-user prices for their own services, while the MVNOs can without any risk offer the same services considerably cheaper as they do not have to bear the costs associated with purchasing licences, expanding and maintaining networks.

We are simply missing out on a genuine liberalisation of the European telecommunications market, and so being able to overcome unfair competition. 500 telecommunications operators including MVNOs, is about 480 for many in a telecommunications market that should be pan-European and consist of 20 or fewer operators who could compete freely for the same customers, while at the same time undertaking a full expansion of 4G and 5G networks in Europe.

Cheap mobile plans mean more expensive smartphones

The telecommunications companies’ strategy with huge discounts on telephones lasted until 2010, after which the subsidisation of mobile phones was sharply reduced as the margins on the associated mobile plans had been sharply decimated after many years of price wars with mainly private MVNOs that sold only cheap mobile plans without a discount on mobile phones, and so focused solely on selling cheap mobile plans with the acceptance of a marginal profit.

European consumers learned relatively quickly, and the hard way, that they could buy their new mobile phone extremely cheaply in one of the larger well-established telecommunications operators and switch to a cheap MVNO soon after the end of the minimum contract term, thereby getting a significantly less expensive mobile bill. Consumers’ sensible shopping patterns quickly drained the established telecommunications companies, which now began to lose a lot of money on selling smartphones at a loss and without the opportunity to earn the money back on expensive mobile plans.

As a substitute for the big discounts on smartphones, telecommunications companies instead introduced instalment schemes that allowed consumers to buy even the most expensive mobile phones for a fixed and low monthly payment. However, with the notion that a longer minimum contract term of up to 24 months was still linked to the mobile plan.

The trick was that customers could avoid paying a lot for their mobile phones here and now, and instead pay more affordable instalments every month. The payment plans mitigated some of the blow, as the telecommunications companies could to a certain extent reduce the loss on the mobile phones, but the introduction of the payment plans have never been the road back to the diamond mines for telecommunications operators in Europe.

European telecommunications market 2018, in a nutshell

By the end of 2018, the European telecommunications market was extremely terminal driven. 75% of Europeans only switch their mobile plan when buying a new mobile phone. The primary competition parameter of the telecommunications companies is therefore still a function of which mobile and at what price they can offer new and popular phones.

However, consumers have become extremely aware of the price they must simultaneously pay for the mobile plan that follows the purchase of the mobile. In 2018, mobile customers typically buy where they get the best overall price for a smartphone and mobile usage (mobile plan). The total margins of the telecommunications operators have, therefore become tiny due to the intense competition and customers’ price awareness.

However, there seems to be a movement towards services and benefits associated with the mobile plan also affecting when attracting new mobile customers. The telecommunications companies’ discounts on HBO, Spotify, Antivirus programs, Office 365 and many other subscription-based services have been found to attract and retain a considerable number of mobile customers.

As smartphones become more advanced, there seems to be another shift regarding effective competition parameters. An increasing proportion of European mobile customers are showing a growing interest in telecommunications companies’ mobile coverage and the speed of mobile Internet.

The trend seems clear – people do not want to pay a lot for a smart and advanced Internet mobile if they are really limited by poor mobile coverage and slow Internet. So, there is a clear trend towards consumers being willing to pay significantly more for the mobile plan if the subscription provides good mobile coverage and high Internet speed.

Without adequate mobile coverage and the experience of fast Internet on mobile or WiFi, the low cost of mobile usage is immaterial. Instead pay more for a mobile plan that works than save money with a subscription that does not work, which clearly seems to be the motivation of a growing number of mobile customers when considering which telecommunications company they want to take out a mobile or broadband subscription with today. So, there are indications that well-developed networks with good mobile coverage and high Internet speeds can be a profitable investment for telecommunications operators in the future.

However, EU politicians should give free rein to market forces. It makes no sense that the telecommunications infrastructure of the future has to be run over lots of parallel motorways. Giving telecommunications operators free rein to collaborate and share the costs of developing and operating networks is the only viable way to secure digital infrastructure in Europe, securing digital infrastructure that can ensure European jobs, innovation and welfare.

Flip phones and camera phones are on the market

Nokia’s design and user-friendliness were hard to compete with. In the early 1990s, their biggest competitor, Motorola, needed a powerful competitor to the Finnish “Chocolate bar” design. The final answer came in 1996 with the introduction of the StarTAC, the world’s first flip phone. It weighed a paltry 88 grammes, and the model practically forced its competitors to produce a flip phone because it became so popular.

Throughout the 00s, the mobile phone was gradually becoming a fusion of many different devices. Sony Ericsson was the first to successfully sell a phone as an alternative to the MP3 player under the WALKMAN name. Nokia challenged Nintendo’s Game Boy with the N-GAGE game mobile series, but without much success.

Last but not least, the mobile phone developed into a serious alternative to the digital compact camera. A few months before the first iPhone was released, the Nokia N95 had a 5-megapixel image sensor with a Carl Zeiss lens and video feature, which cleared the table and set new standards for the camera mobile. In comparison, the first iPhone had only a 2-megapixel camera, no flash and neither autofocus nor a video feature.

Motorola’s successor to StarTAC, the V3 Razr, was the last phone to dominate the market before Apple’s iPhone arrived in 2007. The V3 Razr was a flip phone with an ultra-thin design and was unique for its time when it hit the shelves in 2004. However, the success came to bite Motorola as they chose to stick to the flip design after Apple wiped the floor with their iPhone 2G, which came with a full-screen panel.

Motorola StarTac

Motorola StarTac became the world’s first flip phone.


The MP3 player fused into the mobile with Sony Ericsson Walkman.


Nokia’s N-Gage series was a clear focus on mobile gaming


A formidable camera mobile of its time. It came on the market shortly before Apple launched its first iPhone.


VR Razr became a huge success, prompting Motorola to focus entirely on the flip phone design.

iPhone 2G was the first Smartphone

According to Stein Jürgen, mobile expert at SmartphonesRevealed.com, one should divide the history of the mobile phone into two eras – Mobile phones before the first iPhone and Smartphones after the first iPhone

The Apple iPhone pulled the rug from under the competitors. The first iPhone was technically inferior compared to many competing phones, but the user interface and design were so radically different and smart that competitors were caught off-guard. The operating system was straightforward and intuitive. Just press the screen once to activate the desired function. Apple was ground-breaking, and with the iPhone 2G, the world’s first Smartphone was introduced in the world market.

Although Apple took the first step in 2007, it was only when the iPhone 4 was launched in 2010 that the content and material quality were at a level where competitors took them seriously. However, it was far too late for many of the major established mobile manufacturers such as Nokia, Panasonic, Motorola and others. They had been napping, and their sales were dwindling, and most good old mobile manufacturers either had to close or merge into something much smarter.

iPhone became a world star in glass and brushed steel

One cannot describe the popularity of the iPhone in qualitative and economic terms alone. Apple’s iPhone quickly turned out to be a true pop star that could get away with relatively poor specifications encased in a cool and innovative design.

Apple’s iPhone is the first commercial product in world history that has received the same level of media coverage, which until its launch was reserved only for music’s biggest pop stars. Compared to its competitors, Apple spent almost no money on marketing. The free media publicity was so intense that all news from competitors was drowned in Apple’s.

See also: Which iPhone model is best for the money

Since 2007, the design template for smartphones has been based on an edge-to-edge touch screen enclosed by a flat housing. The basic principles of smartphone design have remained mostly unchanged over the years. The very rigid design has nevertheless appealed to the customers. Smartphone sales have increased from 122 million in 2007 to 1.4 billion in 2018. By the end of 2018, Apple’s global market share stands at 12.1%, while Android-based smartphones, such as Samsung, Huawei, Sony and HTC account for 87.5% of all smartphones sold in the world.

If you delve into market shares, you will find that smartphones sold in the world are sharply divided into the Western and Asian world. In the West, iPhones are the most popular smartphones. For instance, in 2017, as many as 40% of all smartphones sold in Europe were iPhones. In Asia, however, the market is dominated by Asian delicacies such as Android-based smartphones from Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi, etc.

Den første iPhone

The first iPhone had relatively poor specifications, but the simplicity, design and user-friendliness were innovative. The world’s first Smartphone came from Apple and saw the light of day in 2007.

iPhone gives access to Apple’s ecosystem

The iPhone 2G didn’t appear out of the blue sky. Apple had for many years been a game-changer in the PC market, and they had also distinguished themselves for many years before the launch of their first iPhone with many leading products and services such as iPod, iTunes and Safari.

With the iPhone, popular content and features from iPod, iTunes and Safari were integrated into a mobile phone. The iPhone immediately inherited the popularity that Apple had built with their iPods, iTunes and web browser, and success quickly followed. The iPhone became the natural mobile choice for millions of people who already used one or more Apple products/services.

With the introduction of the iPhone, Apple created a key with which consumers could access the entire Apple universe. In many ways, a stroke of genius that ensured the iPhone’s immediate success, but which also in the long-term retained its customers in a closed ecosystem.

Apple’s economic ecosystem has proven to be a winning strategy in an otherwise highly competitive market. Apple is the mobile manufacturer with the biggest margins in the sale of smartphones, and at the same time, Apple is the only mobile manufacturer that also makes a lot of money selling music, apps and compatible gadgets. With the iPhone, Apple became a money-maker in many major links of the value chain. The value of Apple’s ecosystem seems to be sky-high for many consumers in the Western world, and due to the ecosystem, many current iPhone users will also choose the iPhone the next time they buy a new smartphone.

Do consumers buy an iPhone because the iPhone is the best smartphone, or do customers buy an iPhone because the iPhone is the only remote control for Apple’s universe of content and features? One thing is for sure. With an iPhone, you don’t necessarily get the world’s best smartphone, but much more Apple is guaranteed.

The best smartphone

The best smartphone has always been a matter of taste for customers. However, all the world’s mobile experts have always claimed the best smartphone is to be found among the phones with the best specifications and test results.

Apple should be very grateful for the introduction of the world’s first smartphone. The first iPhone definitely defined the mobile phones of the future. Smartphones became a concept that all competing mobile manufacturers, with Samsung, Sony and Huawei at the forefront, had to deal with and try to offer good alternatives, but Apple’s competitors were obviously fumbling with the innovation and spent the first several years just copying the popular iPhones.

The best smartphone is the one I have in my pocket, Europeans said from 2007 to 2015 when asked, and it was typically an iPhone they pulled out of their pocket. And so it is with human psychology. We act to a great extent based on perception rooted in social consensus and acceptance.

We listen to and love the music that creates excitement among friends and family, and we are entirely indifferent to critics who claim the music does not play as it should. This is also the case with smartphones and all the hype that has surrounded the iPhone over the years has also rubbed off on consumers.

Pop stars are out of critical reach, and so it was with iPhones until 2015. iPhone critical mobile experts spoke to deaf ears when they pointed out that from 2007 to 2015, there were better and cheaper smartphones on the market. In 2015, however, consumers began to listen to the reasoning of mobile experts.

In 2015, the price differences between iPhones and competing phones had become so large and the quality differences so pronounced that Samsung and Huawei smartphones began to take a market share from Apple. After all, there was a limit to how much mobile customers would pay for iPhones and Apple’s ecosystem. Which smartphone is the best, however, is still rooted in the perception of European consumers, especially where 40% of mobile users in 2018 had an iPhone in their pockets.

From 2015 to 2018, the mobile experts’ whispers began to increasingly reach the consumer’s ears, and consumers gradually began to listen to the mobile experts’ well-founded ratings of The best smartphone on the market.

By the end of 2018, the ratings of The Best Smartphone on the market were dominated by phones from Samsung, Huawei, Sony, Motorola and One Plus. Not a single iPhone was on the Top-20 Lists if you seek the advice of independent mobile experts online.

In 2018, the iPhone is still the best smartphone in many mobile customers’ optics, but among countless mobile experts, even the best iPhones are far down the list of the best phones on the market. The fact that the price of iPhones has gone sky-high is one of the reasons for the scepticism from mobile experts. However, the fact that iPhones lag far behind the best smartphones in terms of technical specifications and user experience is the main reason that competing smartphones by the end of 2018 have taken the throne among the best phones in the market.

Apple seems to have hit targets in terms of customer willingness to pay and neglected its competitors’ qualitative advantages. An unfortunate combination that in 2018 makes iPhones relatively inferior and relatively more expensive than the absolute best smartphones on the market.

See also: Todays Top 20 Best Smartphones On Market

Samsung & Huawei become bigger than Apple

In 2015, Samsung, Sony and Huawei pulled on their boots and crossed the ice. While Samsung launched the Galaxy S6 Edge and Huawei put the Huawei P8 on the market, Sony came to the surface with the world’s first waterproof camera mobile, the Sony Xperia Z5, which became a relatively potent challenger from the deep.

Samsung was the mobile manufacturer that made every effort to decode Apple’s “Winning Concept”. While Nokia struggled on and drowned, Samsung launched a host of smartphones from 2007 to 2013, all of which should take the fight to the popular iPhone. Most launches capsized, but in 2015, Samsung finally managed to find a promising vaccine against the dominant iPhones.

The Galaxy S6 from Samsung became the most competitive gladiator in the fight against Apple’s dominance in the US and European markets. Not only were the specifications a high quality in relation to all standards, but also the design of the Edge variant of the S6, the smartphone with a curved screen edge, was recognised as an innovative and aesthetic pleasure for the eye.

While Samsung insisted on challenging Apple and competing for the same customers since 2010 – customers who pay relatively much for a smartphone – Apple has also been challenged by several Chinese mobile manufacturers that focused almost exclusively on developing and selling cheap, quality, high-end smartphones. In particular, since 2015, Huawei has marked itself as a mobile manufacturer that has cheap smartphones with better specifications than iPhones.

By the end of 2018, Huawei became the world’s largest mobile manufacturer, closely followed by Samsung and with Apple in third place.

Samsung, Huawei and Sony surrounded Apple in 2015

2015 was the year when competitors were shocked over the first Apple smartphone. Mobile manufacturers that year like LG, Sony and especially Samsung and Huawei had smartphones that were either better, cheaper or more innovative than competing iPhone models. At the same time, it became clear that Apple was now facing competing mobile manufacturers with different and very clear strategies.

In 2015, Apple was surrounded by competitors who challenged the iPhone in every respect. Smartphones from, among others, Sony, Samsung and Huawei, proved significantly better in tests, and smartphones from Huawei, in particular, were not just better. The Huawei phones also only cost a third of what you had to pay for the latest iPhone.

Nevertheless, until the end of 2018, Apple has chosen to maintain its strategy of launching new and more expensive iPhone models each year in September. However, for every launch since 2015, price increases have been the biggest news from Apple. Improvements in technical specifications have been modest and minimal since 2015, and Apple has by no means matched innovations and competitive smartphones from Samsung, Huawei, Sony, One Plus and Motorola.

It’s as if Apple had an unbridled belief that the willingness to pay for iPhones and Apple’s ecosystem was infinitely high. However, by the end of 2018, it seems apparent that there is an upper limit on the price Apple can charge for an iPhone. In June 2018, more iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models were sold year to date than iPhone 10 (X) phones sold.

Samsung mobil

The Samsung Galaxy S6 came on the market in 2015 and became a very potent competitor to the popular iPhones.

Sony mobil

When the Sony Xperia Z5 came on the market in 2015, it was with a camera and battery life that was superior to the iPhone. The Sony mobile phone was also waterproof and competitive on price.


The Huawei P8 was launched with incredible specifications in 2015. The price was very competitive, and the mobile only cost a third of the price of the latest iPhones.

Smartphones and social media are changing human social behaviour

Hey! The natural social behaviour of humans is hampered by the use of smartphones and social media. Stop a think for a second. Maybe you should change your social behaviour before arbitrarily liking photos of cats on Facebook, spreading Fake News on social media and bringing closeness-seeking children into the world.

The following is not uniquely fact-based but is based on my views on modern people’s use of smartphones and social media. There are many good things to highlight about smartphones and social media, but there are still a few things to keep in mind.

The smartphone has become the centre of communication and information flow in our lives in more than one way. Whether it’s news, friends on Facebook, or absolutely banal things like using the alarm clock of the mobile to get up in the morning, the mobile has become our personal operating system. Modern western people cannot function optimally without a smartphone at hand.

The primary function of the mobile is no longer phone calls and text messages. The smartphone has become our 6th sense, helping us with everything from shopping, directions, news and tending to human relationships. Without our smartphone, we feel socially amputated and completely cut off from our surroundings, which is really quite sad.

On average, we check our smartphone 110 times a day, and the spread of social media and the possibility of being online constantly with friends, all and sundry, has, of course, helped the compulsive neurosis well on its way. Psychologists and sociologists have long warned us that real human social relationships are severely endangered.

According to many experts around the world, the smartphone with all the virtual realities it provides will quickly change human social behaviour, if not in a negative direction, then in a different and unknown direction. With a smartphone in hand, we are in fact never fully present in the physical encounter and interaction with other people, and with our focus on Likes and comments from digital profiles on the Internet, human social behaviour will undoubtedly be affected.

It’s actually common sense, and that doesn’t require an expert’s good advice. Each one of us knows very well that there is something wrong with it. We can only comfort ourselves in the fact that our children are even worse.

Humans are exceptionally socially constructed creatures, but the smartphone destroys and distorts our social competences to an extreme degree. We should be much more present in the physical interaction with other people and forget about the smartphone, or so an increasing number of psychologists and sociologists say – and they are probably right.

The smartphone has dramatically reduced people’s confidence in established knowledge, expertise and authority. There is a growing tendency for people to draw their conclusions based on commercial headlines, baseless postulates, fake news and questionable sources. The smartphone and with it, access to social media, means we are open to all kinds of influences.

The smartphone has become a Trojan horse for anything that can threaten Western democracy, facts and considerate value. With the smartphone, we are just one click away from the Internet, social media and all its possibilities, outrage, bullying and radical groupings. The temptations on the Internet have become too great and the brake pads too thin to allow the modern people to filter the good from the bad.

People are so busy proclaiming their own view that they have become deaf to common sense. The media, politicians and science must re-establish themselves as authorities before the next smartphone becomes too smart, and Smartphone Sapiens are changing the world as we know it.

The conclusions between the lines are quite apocalyptic and border on guesswork. However, there can be no doubt. Human behaviour has changed rapidly, and it will change even faster, not in line with natural development, but in line with technological developments. Just look at your children’s behaviour.

/Nicolas Fredriksen,
Telecommunications Analyst and Founder of SmartphonesRevealed.com

What are the smartphones and mobile technology of the future

If you asked a Nokia engineer in the mid-00s, the question about the mobile phone of the future, he would probably think we were very close to the top. Yet, here we are today, where a smartphone has 100 times more computing power than the big computers that sent NASA’s Apollo 11 to the moon.

The history of the mobile phone has shown that the number of technological breakthroughs and ground-breaking ideas that have come to life since 1984 makes it incredibly difficult to predict what the future mobile phone will look like, work and what the mobile can do to make our everyday life easier, telecommunications companies’ revenue is higher and mobile manufacturers’ success more global.

However, we can be pretty sure that flexible mobile screens will come in the foreseeable future, but it will probably take a few years before you can communicate via a chip you have had implanted in the back of your head, a screen on your cornea, a nano-microphone in your mouth and a micro-speaker in your ear.

At SmartphonesRevealed.com, we keep a close eye on developments and have our ear firmly to the ground in the industry. The history of the mobile phone has shown that development is going fast. We look forward to covering tomorrow’s mobile technology and bringing you regular news, analysis, testing and reviews of upcoming phones.

However, we fear that the future’s news about smartphones and mobile technology may be bad news for today’s world-renowned mobile manufacturers, but also bad news for Western welfare societies and the individual, who, despite everything, goes around interacting with brains that have not evolved over the past 200,000 years.

Nokia made it big, but Apple suddenly changed it and made it even bigger. Overnight we went from mobile phones to smartphones, and during one of the upcoming nights, we will undoubtedly see cutting edge mobile technology in a new design that will do the same to the popular iPhones in the same way that Apple did in its time to Nokia back in 2007. It is merely in the nature of mobile technology that it is disruptive and game-changing.

Battery, antenna & mobile coverage must be much better

If we take a look at today’s major challenges in terms of smartphones, they are to do with the phones’ batteries, antennas and mobile coverage. The battery’s life is very limited, and mobile antennas are generally not good enough, often leaving the user without mobile coverage.
Therefore, it is obvious to point to the mobile battery and the mobile antenna as the significant innovation areas of the future for mobile manufacturers. An expensive smartphone should ideally not go out like a candle in a light breeze, and it should not provide the experience of poor mobile coverage and slow Internet.

See also: Top 20 phones with best battery

Today’s phones are limited by the short battery life, and battery life will also be the big issue of the future. In 2018, mobile manufacturers had plenty of focus on enhancements to mobile phone batteries and quick recharging. However, the mobile battery has always been the Achilles heel of mobile phones and will probably be so in the near future. In 2018, we are still bound by where the nearest power outlet is and whether the friends we visit also have a charger that fits our power-weak smartphone.

The battery in today’s smartphones is light years ahead of the first mobile batteries back in the 1980s, but the capacity of the smartphone battery is becoming increasingly challenged by the fact that smartphones can be used for even more and very power-consuming features and services.

Streaming services, games, music, apps and TV are consuming a lot of power, and unless the mobile manufacturers soon solve the battery problem, we will quickly return to the time when mobile phones weighed several kilos. Well, we won’t end there, but the mobile phone batteries are an equation that mobile phone manufacturers have not yet solved and an equation they should definitely solve for the smartphones of the future.

It is important to note here that the problems related to the mobile battery are first and foremost a matter of space and a question of the design and shape of the phone. If consumers could accept bigger, heavier and thicker smartphones, there would also be room for batteries that could hold their charge for many days. It’s then just an open question of whether consumers will prefer thick and heavy mobiles with an excellent mobile battery rather than today’s thin and cool designs with a bad battery.

See also: Best designed smartphones

Poor antenna = Poor mobile coverage, battery life & high SAR value

Also, the antenna quality of smartphones has become a significant problem for mobile manufacturers, but probably most for mobile users – you and me. We experience the effects of poor mobile antennas such as poor mobile coverage and slow Internet on the mobile, and often we mistakenly blame the telecommunications companies for having a poor network and poor mobile coverage.

However, the fact is that many of today’s smartphones have terrible antennas, and it’s the poor mobile antenna that in many cases should be blamed for poor mobile coverage and slow mobile Internet — not the telecommunications companies’ network.

This has not always been the case. In the happy Nokia era, most mobile phones were relatively chunky and often equipped with a protruding antenna. Back then, the phones had amazingly good mobile antennas, and the mobile coverage was almost impeccable, but things went horribly wrong in 2007 when Apple defined the design for all subsequent smartphones – flat and thin brushed steel and glass smartphones are smart and nice to look at, but unfortunately, the design leaves little room for relatively space-consuming mobile antennas and batteries.

See also: Compare antenna quality on todays smartphones

After smartphones replaced the old mobile phones, the mobile antenna has generally gotten worse and worse, giving users an experience of poor mobile coverage and slow Internet. There is also a conflict between the battery and the antenna. Both the mobile battery and the antenna battle for the same limited space in the slim and flat design of the smartphone.

What should mobile manufacturers then prioritise? Historically, mobile manufacturers have prioritised the battery as the capacity of the battery can be read in the specifications of the phones. This is not the case with the antenna. Mobile manufacturers have, strangely enough, never been required to disclose the antenna quality in the specifications of the phones. So, antenna quality has never been an active competitive parameter but has been a unprioritized quality parameter for the mobile manufacturers, and it has been implicitly neglected. No one has really had the opportunity to test the antenna quality of smartphones.

The quality of the battery and antenna go hand in hand. There is a clear connection between the battery capacity and the quality of the antenna. The poorer the antenna, the more power the battery will draw to amplify the signal from the transmitter mast. The better the antenna, the less battery is used. So, it makes no sense to display impressive specifications on the battery if a poor antenna nevertheless drains most of the juice from the battery.

Gert Frølund Petersen, a professor at the University of Aalborg, has tested the antenna quality of hundreds of smartphones for many years, and based on the test results, he has developed a method that can express the antenna quality of a smartphone relatively easily.

  • The higher the mobile radiation (SAR value) a mobile emits, the worse the mobile antenna.
  • The higher the SAR value, the poorer the mobile coverage is due to the poor antenna.
  • The higher the SAR value, the more battery power the mobile phone uses to amplify the signal from the telecommunications company’s transmitter mast.
  • The higher the SAR value, the more power the battery uses to keep the mobile connected and the less battery capacity is available to maintain the proper functions of the mobile.

Gert Frølund Petersen has shown that the SAR value of the phones can be used as an expression of the antenna quality of the mobile. The fact that mobile manufacturers are required to disclose the SAR values of phones is a huge benefit for consumers in this regard. The higher the SAR (mobile radiation) value, the worse the mobile’s antenna.

SmartphonesRevealed.com test all phones in the market on 10 different quality parameters and among these the antenna quality. Our test of the mobile’s antenna quality is based on Mr Frølund’s method. We use the reciprocal value of the SAR value of the mobile to express the mobile’s antenna quality – Lowest SAR value = Best mobile antenna.

In the near future, mobile manufacturers will face a choice that is somewhat reminiscent of the choice between plague or cholera. Due to consumers’ increased use of streaming services, games and social media, mobile manufacturers will need to prioritise both larger batteries and more space for antennas.

The question then is whether mobile manufacturers will depart from the smartphone’s thin and flat design and produce thicker smartphones with room for both a good battery and a good mobile antenna. However, the ultimate question is whether consumers will accept thick smartphones with a relatively high BMI (Body Mass Index) against longer battery life and better mobile coverage due to better mobile antennas.

We believe that there is a growing market for smartphones that prioritise a good battery and a good antenna. So, we may soon see thicker smartphones but with longer battery life, good antennas and impressive good mobile coverage in the market.

The artificially intelligent human – Evolution Through Technological Optimisation

The future is just around the corner. It will suddenly be upon us, and we are in for a nasty surprise if we don’t acknowledge its effect right now. So, I’m not a scared opponent of the technological breakthrough of the future. I pay tribute to them in advance as people rely on both science and technology to survive and preserve the planet.

However, I have some scepticism about how we, as individuals and societies, do not relate to technologies that are likely to affect the human sensory apparatus, human behaviour, and social order. Politics, legislation and human behaviour are of a reactionary nature and we can therefore neither anticipate nor prepare appropriately to regulate or resist any adverse effects of a given technological breakthrough in time. Unfortunately, we can only act when the damage has been done, and unfortunately, it’s often too late.

History has already shown us that mobile technology has had a huge impact on human social behaviour. History has also shown that the legal toolbox lacks the tools needed to deal with the unwanted effects of new mobile technology – not to mention all the problems and threats associated with the use and misuse of personal data.

The fact that the contents of the legal toolbox for this is provided by politicians, and the fact that some realisations notoriously only sink in long after technological breakthroughs have had their effect is a further problem that creates real powerlessness against malicious technology use – not to mention the issues related to Fake News, hacking, Internet scams and organised crime that is now flourishing on the Internet.

The human psyche is hungry for smart technology, and we will always seek new technological opportunities, but unfortunately, there is no apparatus to protect us from harmful technology use. There are also no agencies or legislation that today can protect our social order from new technologies, and many new technologies are designed precisely to challenge existing social order and cash flow. It merely lies in the DNA of technology that it has to be disruptive and change the rules of the game, and this applies regardless of whether the developers’ intentions are good or bad.

The history of the mobile phone has shown that mobile technology has the potential to become our sombre companion. The speed of 5G and being backed by Artificial Intelligence, the mobile technology of the future can have an even greater impact – positive as well as negative – not only on human social behaviour but also on our mental and physiological capacity.

Charles Darwin couldn’t see it coming, but Evolution Through Natural Selection will soon be replaced by Evolution Through Technological Optimisation. It will apply to humanity, and it will also apply to all other animals and plants that humans decide to eradicate, preserve or recreate.

Humans have always sought to optimise our living conditions, and the future of mobile technology will undoubtedly become humanity’s greatest opportunity to optimise the conditions of the life to be lived and the individual goals to be realised.

An apparently golden opportunity that I, unfortunately, don’t think the individual can handle or resist. Nor anything politicians or lawyers can protect us from. Evolution Through Technological Optimisation will undoubtedly be realised with the future of mobile technology, Artificial Intelligence and 5G, and the future it is just around the corner. It is knocking at our door.

Humans will soon be online

Within a 5-year period (from 2018 to 2023), we will see phones with 2-3 terabytes of storage and 7-9 gigabytes of memory as standard in even the cheapest phones on the market – the same as powerful laptops have today. However, much of the memory of the future – applications, software, algorithms – will be stored in the Cloud and accessible via telephone, PC or machine via high-speed Internet connections. So, the smartphones of the future must first and foremost have a fast network connection, large battery capacity, good antenna, fast processor and optimal screen for full utilisation of the wonders of future mobile technology.

Although the mobile phone of the future will be faster and more powerful, the next chapters of mobile technology will largely be about the digital infrastructure, how electronic and mechanical machines around us can be optimised and to what extent the digital infrastructure and general social development stimulate the development of new software that can be controlled using mobile technology.

In the long run, the mobile phones of the future will not be encased by brushed steel and glass. Rather, they will be communication centres encased by human flesh and blood. What we today refer to as mobile phones, smartphones and wearables, will in the future be mobile technology implanted in our body, eyes and ears, connected to artificial intelligence and utterly invisible to the human eye. However, mobile technology is sure to be visible in human behaviour. The connected and artificially intelligent human will soon be online.

Nicolas Fredriksen,
Telecommunications Analyst & Founder of SmartphonesRevealed.com

5G, mobile technology & AI will challenge European welfare communities

The combination of artificial intelligence, mobile technology and fast data speed based on 5G will undoubtedly challenge Western welfare states. Many jobs will disappear while some will be created. However, new jobs will only be created through the use of extreme brain power and high productivity that can justify high wages.

The following is my dystopian view, but nonetheless, the Western welfare states, in particular, should definitely take a position before the storm arrives from Asia. If dystopia proves to take hold, it will be far too late to respond. Already now (2018), innovation in mobile technology has strong tailwinds in Asia, while Europe is struggling in the headwinds.

The next generation of mobile network 5G, which in Europe is expected to be commercially available around 2022, will be up to 100 times faster than 4G, which in its time was 10 times faster than 3G. Of course, this will provide us with some entirely new possibilities for how many devices you can control from your phone and what software can be used from the Cloud.

We have already seen how smartphones can be used as remote controls for various home appliances, but according to Stein Jürgen, Mobile Expert at SmartphonesRevealed.com, it will be crucial that there is a real practical benefit to the technology to come. Otherwise, 5G will not catch on and become applicable to us ordinary people in everyday life, he believes.

An App such as MobilePay (Danish payment app offered by Danske Bank) had tremendous success because it actually filled a void and made daily chores easier, but in 99.9% of cases it would be easier to turn on the light in your home at a switch, rather than turning on the light from your phone. From a consumer point of view, 5G will become a matter of daily practicability and entertainment, explains Stein Jürgen.

Regardless of the positive considerations and viewpoints you have for 5G, it should be noted that 5G will primarily have practicability among gaming and software developers and industry players. 5G’s appeal is particularly in medicine, traffic and logistics in combination with artificial intelligence. It should also be noted that artificial intelligence, combined with high data speed over 5G will also have negative consequences. The fact that many trivial tasks are automated and so disappear from the labour market is almost obvious.

That machines can communicate in real-time (M2M data transfers), that a doctor in a central location in the country can operate on patients across the country, that cars can become self-driving and that the industry can optimise their processes, will undoubtedly create a foundation for plenty of innovation and technological breakthroughs, but potentially, it can also make a lot of traditional professions redundant. This is especially true of professions today with unskilled and low-skilled workers. However, even highly skilled fact-based labour is threatened by the combination of Artificial Intelligence and mobile technology based on 5G.

What should the established Western societies do with high-paid bus drivers, train drivers, taxi drivers and other low-education employees working for a high minimum wage? And what should Western societies do with accountants, journalists, lawyers and other highly skilled fact-based tomfoolery when Artificial Intelligence and Real-Time data transfers based on 5G can solve their tasks in two nanoseconds and/or entirely without sky-high labour costs.

5G technology has the potential to shake all the groundwork of established Western welfare societies, and traditionally underdeveloped welfare societies lead the field of the world’s economy. From today’s relatively low-developed countries, armies of highly educated people who gratefully work at low hourly rates will be recruited by global high-tech companies and provide fact-based services, software development, applications and innovative solutions to customers worldwide.

It should already be clear today that the West’s unskilled, low educated in trivial professions and highly educated in fact-based professions can be hit hard by artificial intelligence services with fast 5G data transfers.

Populous countries like India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan and China. Overall, nations with a growing and well-educated middle class have every reason to smile for the future of the 5G-based global knowledge economy. Their societies are not based on social and economic equality, high minimum wages, unemployment benefits, generally high levels of education, and health care for all. Today’s developing countries are already geared to rewarding the successful, while large sections of the population make a living from farming and ad hoc work.

However, Europe and to some extent, the United States will come under pressure as traditional Western welfare models are severely challenged as a result of global structural unemployment. What in the world will the West do with its less gifted citizens – 15% of the population – when there is no longer any socially beneficial work for them in the context of relatively high minimum wages?

Automation, robots and artificial intelligence speeded up by 5G will be a problem because how can this cocktail of technologies create unskilled jobs and how can high-tech companies in global competition make use of labour without brainpower? Western welfare societies are founded on the fact that most of the workforce contribute to tax revenue.

Shall the European countries then tax all the automation, the robots, the artificially intelligent journalists and the tireless four-wheeled hospital porters? How do Western societies – the politicians – optimise and find an optimal balance between taxing employed citizens and companies’ deductions for real investment in new operating technology.

Would deductions for real investment in new technology not lose such a duel? Politicians are sucking up because robots and companies have no voting rights

The political and legal structure of European societies will also make it difficult for IT and tech start-ups to compete on development and innovation. Especially against companies in Asian countries where political and legal restrictions, for example, linked to personal data, will not be an obstacle, and the supply of highly educated candidates/labour in IT and tech is growing markedly year by year.

European welfare societies will undoubtedly be challenged by tomorrow’s mobile technology, served with Artificial Intelligence, which will become significantly quicker with 5G. Citizens of Europe, entrepreneurs and industrial crown jewels can only hope that tomorrow’s mobile technology, general innovation and tax policy will be exempt from political and legal interference. What does not affect the world as a whole should not affect Europe at all.

Nicolas Fredriksen,
Telecommunications Analyst & Founder of SmartphonesRevealed.com

The historical development of the mobile in price and quality

We have already analysed the telecommunications companies’ subsidisation of mobile phones and the significant impact the subsidisation had on the distribution of mobile phones in Europe. In the further treatment of the historical development of mobile phones and smartphones, we look solely at the pricing strategies of the mobile manufacturers and the quality the mobile manufacturers deliver for the price.

The first mobile phone, Motorola DynaTEC 8000, which came on the market in 1983, cost more than USD 10,000 in today’s money (2018). It was unaffordable for most people and therefore never became the big popular breakthrough. The mobile phone that truly made the phone popular was the Nokia 2110, which came on the market in 1995.

The price was also much more agreeable compared to the Motorola DynaTEC 8000. The price of the Nokia 2110 in today’s money (2018) was a mere USD 1,400. However, a price that today’s consumers would be hard pushed to pay for a mobile that can only be used for mobile calls, text messages and playing Snake.

In 2018, it was not uncommon for consumers to pay USD 1,400 or more for a new smartphone, but in return, it’s also packed with functionalities, computing power, camera, Internet and a lot of software and applications.

See also: Compare current price levels & quality on todays smartphones

The point is that today’s newest and most popular mobile phones have always been relatively expensive. The DynaTEC 8000 was in its very own historical price league, but popular and innovative phones cost the same in 1995 as popular and innovative smartphones in 2018. The only difference is that you get much more value for your money in 2018 than you did in 1995.

And that’s a pretty significant difference, many would argue. The prices of mobile phones have, since 1995 and until 2015, only increased in line with inflation. Quality improvements and new features over the years have been entirely free from the eyes of consumers. From 2015, however, there was a change in price developments. Huawei, Sony, LG and others this year introduced smartphone models that were significantly cheaper than the most popular phones, and at the same time matching the qualities of the absolute best smartphones on the market.

Cheap smartphones are often better quality than expensive smartphones

In 2015, some mobile manufacturers were successful in changing their pricing strategies. Sony, but especially Huawei this year, succeeded with smartphone models, which for Sony were 20 to 30% cheaper than the most expensive high-end models from Apple and Samsung. At the same time, Huawei had great success with smartphones that only cost 30% of the price you had to pay for the latest iPhones. Common to both Sony and Huawei was that the quality of their cheap models fully matched the quality of the most expensive smartphones on the market, and on a few quality parameters, they were superior to them as well.

In 2018, the prices of smartphones polarised like never before. The price difference between the most expensive and cheapest smartphone has never been greater. Apple and Samsung insist on having high margins, while a broad range of competing mobile manufacturers insist on having the cheapest smartphones on the market. And it is definitely not the rule that the cheapest smartphones score poorly in tests of important quality parameters such as camera, antenna, battery, user-friendliness, data rate, etc.

Looking at the Top-20 Best Smartphones, 2018, you will find that the price difference between the most expensive and cheapest smartphone is as much as USD 550. By the end of 2018, the cheapest smartphone was even better than the most expensive mobile on the Top-20 list. Therefore, it’s worthwhile comparing the qualities of mobile phones, test results, expert ratings and current prices before purchasing a new smartphone.

Most quality for the price will win

From 2015 and probably far into the future, a large number of mobile manufacturers will invest heavily in launching high-quality cheap smartphones. Demand has definitely proved to be present, and the trend is growing from 2015 onwards. However, the challenge for these mobile manufacturers is that they are many and that telecommunications companies mainly sell smartphones with certain market popularity. The key to the success of these mobile manufacturers, therefore, lies in sales through online shops that sell phones without being tied to specific mobile plans.

See also: Top 30 best phones for the money

The price-conscious consumer who wants to save money on high-quality smartphones is increasingly expected to buy their future smartphones in specialised online shops or department stores, which are also increasingly selling phones without a mobile plan.

Already today (2018) a significant proportion of European consumers are very focused on how much quality they are getting for the money. An increasing number of Europeans check the phones’ quality/price ratio before deciding which mobile they buy. A trend that is sure to reduce the demand for smartphones from the large, established and very expensive mobile manufacturers.

See also: Top 30 best budget phones

Mobile manufacturers that deliver the highest quality for the price will ultimately take market share from the large established mobile manufacturers. This has long been the case for manufacturers of computers and televisions, and so it will soon be for manufacturers of smartphones.

However, to some extent, Apple will be able to defend somewhat higher prices on its iPhones as some market share is believed to have strong preferences for Apple’s ecosystem, apps and related gadgets. It’s another challenge for Samsung, which, like most other mobile manufacturers, uses the Android operating system.

Important years & events in history of the mobile phone

The history of the mobile phone has begun, but much has already been done in the development of phones and mobile technology, and the impact of technology on human behaviour has already been significant. It is difficult to unequivocally point out which year and event have had the most significant impact on the history of the mobile. Of course, it’s even harder to predict how the story will go in the future.

History has also shown that the development of mobile phones can take sharp turns and be completely unpredictable. We have listed 14 years where important events took place, and new technologies came into play.

Unforeseen events, technological breakthroughs and new ways of communicating will surely also characterise mobile technology in the years to come. We can only hope that development goes in people’s favour.

Important years & events

A patent on wireless telephony is issued to Nathan B. Stubblefield. However, not much came out of the patented technology, but Nathan B. Stubblefield nevertheless contributed to important discoveries that later gained importance in the history of the mobile phone.
The first cell-based phones were developed by AT&T in the 1940s. The phones worked more like walkie-talkies, but the idea of wireless mobile telephony was actually realised, and so AT&T helped to take the first steps in the history and development of the mobile phone.
Engineer Martin Cooper is credited with inventing the world’s first mobile phone. In 1973, he made history’s first mobile call. Martin Cooper made the mobile call from the prototype to the mobile, which was later named Motorola DynaTEC 8000X.
First-generation tele-networks (1G) are introduced, and so it becomes possible to facilitate conversations between mobile phones. Mobile manufacturers immediately begin prioritising antennas, mobile coverage, batteries and call quality in their phones.
The DynaTEC 8000X – the world’s first mobile phone – comes on the market in 1983. The mobile from Motorola – Martin Cooper’s invention – was big and bulky and quickly got the nickname “The Brick”. The Motorola DynaTEC 8000X was a relatively big success. Especially in the construction industry where missing landline connections were typically not installed on construction sites.
The GSM system becomes the standard most countries in the world will follow in the development of commercial mobile telephony.
The start of liberalisation of the European telecommunications market. From being state-owned infrastructure, telecommunications operators are privatised. However, the listed operators were subject to a number of concession requirements, which meant, among other things, that private operators (MVNOs) could provide telephony and broadband on the operators’ networks and that the operators’ networks must be nationwide and bear all the costs associated with nationwide mobile telephony and mobile broadband.
With telecom companies launching the 2G GSM network, text messaging (SMS) became possible over the GSM network and Nokia was the first mobile manufacturer to incorporate SMS functionality into mobile phones. Text messaging is becoming a hugely popular communication format and is rapidly influencing human behaviour. Major mobile manufacturers of the time; Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, Motorola, Panasonic and others give priority to the introduction of 2G, including the development of the user interface, data rate and processors, and continue to develop good batteries, antennas and mobile coverage.
The Nokia 2110 launches and becomes a massive global success. From 1995 to 2007, Nokia sits highest on the throne with a market share of up to 41%, and during the period they launch many popular mobile phones such as the Nokia 321, 3310 and 1100.
Many European telecommunications operators choose to subsidise mobile phones and sell mobile phones for less than EUR 0.13. However, cheap phones also require the purchase of extremely expensive mobile plans with a minimum contract term. The suddenly very cheap phones are the catalyst that really accelerates European mobile sales, and before long, mobile phones are common property for the citizens of Europe.
Motorola StarTAC is the world’s first flip phone, and it will be a huge hit, which will make the other mobile manufacturers think of design in new ways.
The third-generation network, 3G UMTS, allows you to access the network from your mobile phone at decent speeds. Where 2G could only facilitate connections at 0.5 Mbps, you could surf with 3G at speeds of 32 Mbps and later 64 Mbps. Mobile manufacturers with Samsung, Ericsson and Motorola at the forefront, immediately stepped up the development of good user interfaces, screens, data rate and mobile coverage.
The Nokia N95 becomes the world’s first real camera mobile, and with a 5 Megapixel camera, the Nokia N95 is celebrated worldwide, but the success is short-lived withy Apple’s introduction of the first iPhone. Therefore, the Nokia N95 never gets its just desserts.
Apple launches the first iPhone (iPhone 2G), setting a standard for the future of smartphones. The high user-friendliness and flat design appeal to a large audience and Apple challenge Nokia and all the other mobile manufacturers. From 2007 to 2015, Apple’s popularity is growing, and the other mobile manufacturers are unable to provide models that can match the iPhones of the day.
The 4G LTE (Fourth Generation Network) network saw the light of day. 4G LTE meant significant improvements in mobile access to the Internet (up to 71 Mbps) and mobile manufacturers launched fast Internet mobiles. When mobile manufacturers really saw that the time for fast processors, large and touch-sensitive screens had arrived. With 4G LTE, the development and sales of Apps also really took off.
Samsung launches the Galaxy S6 Edge, a high-end smartphone that is gaining high acclaim for design and user-friendliness, and Huawei launches a number of great smartphones including the Huawei P8, which costs only a third of the latest iPhones. Both the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the cheap smartphones from Huawei prove to be challenging Apple’s iPhones. An increasing number of consumers began to realise that iPhones were not the best smartphones, but the most expensive smartphones.

From 2015 to the end of 2018, mobile manufacturers such as Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Sony and One Plus have repeatedly shown that they produce higher-quality smartphones, and in many cases, at significantly lower prices than Apple.

Historical overview

The list of the most significant years is not comprehensive considering the furious development that the mobile has undergone. More truthfully, it would probably have been to produce a list of the 100 most significant dates for the development of mobile technology. Nevertheless, the list of the most important years in the history of mobile technology provides a certain chronology and a useful picture of the historical course of events.

Poor 4G coverage in Europe doesn’t bode well for 5G coverage

There are major national differences in 4G LTE coverage across countries. The overview below shows the 4G LTE coverage in each country at the end of 2018. Large European countries, such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy, lag far behind many Asian countries. 5G network technology is in the testing phase worldwide, and 5G is expected to be commercially viable as early as 2020 and fully commercial in 2022. How can you expect rapid expansion of 5G coverage in Europe when the business model of 4G LTE has proven to be flawed?

The lack of 4G LTE penetration per 2018 is a cry for help. A wake-up call that responsible politicians should have answered many years ago. Being at the forefront of network technologies is paramount if, as a nation, you want to stimulate economic growth, create new jobs and so get new money in the treasury to finance the welfare society of the future.

Network technology sets the framework for how mobile manufacturers prioritise the development of new smartphones, but network technology also largely determines how innovation, startups and tech companies develop. In countries that are at the forefront of future network technologies and are actively investing in the development of optimal networks, you can also see that business, the population and society as a whole are changing in pace and become more productive, innovative and flexible.

4G LTE coverage in Europe is lousy compared to many populous countries that send millions of highly educated people into the global software and high-tech industry every year. Europe is lagging far behind in terms of 4G LTE coverage, and Europe must also be expected to lag behind when 5G is rolled out.

4G LTE coverage per nation in 2018

#  Nation 4G LTE coverage
1  South Korea 97.49%
2  Japan 94.70%
3  Norway 92.16%
4  Hong Kong 90.34%
5  United States 90.32%
6  Netherlands 89.64%
7  Hungary 89.26%
8  Kuwait 88.40%
9  Lithuania 88.40%
10  Czech Republic 87.37%
11  Sweden 87.31%
12  Taiwan 87.08%
13  Australia 86.48%
14  India 86.26%
15  Thailand 85.58%
16  Switzerland 85.39%
17  Belgium 85.11%
18  Qatar 84.47%
19  Singapore 84.43%
20  Estonia 84.21%
21  Latvia 84.17%
22  United Arab Emirates 83.78%
23  Spain 83.73%
24  Finland 82.79%
25  Macedonia 82.62%
26  Canada 82.38%
27  Uruguay 81.59%
28  Denmark 80.50%
29  Croatia 80.44%
30  Luxembourg 79.95%
31  Slovenia 79.22%
32  Bahrain 79.02%
33  Slovakia 78.96%
34  Peru 78.67%
35  Oman 78.41%
36  United Kingdom 77.28%
37  Mexico 76.95%
38  Greece 76.04%
39  Austria 75.60%
40  Portugal 75.57%
41  Serbia 75.19%
42  Malaysia 74.88%
43  Georgia 74.54%
44  Lebanon 74.48%
45  Bulgaria 73.96%
46  Brunei 73.66%
47  Bolivia 73.52%
48  Argentina 73.17%
49  Romania 72.88%
50  Poland 72.84%
51  Saudi Arabia 72.61%
52  Indonesia 72.39%
53  Panama 72.11%
54  Vietnam 71.26%
55  Kazakhstan 71.18%
56  Jordan 70.63%
57  Cambodia 70.51%
58  Paraguay 69.93%
59  Italy 69.66%
60  Morocco 69.34%
61  Ivory Coast 69.30%
62  Iran 69.27%
63  Chile 69.26%
64  Pakistan 69.99%
65  New Zealand 69.07%
66  France 68.31%
67  South Africa 68.30%
68  Turkey 67.95%
69  Albania 67.94%
70  Germany 65.67%
71  Colombia 65.51%
72  Guatemala 65.13%
73  Russia 65.08%
74  Israel 64.66%
75  Philippines 63.73%
76  Myanmar 62.52%
77  Tunisia 61.38%
78  Brazil 61.26%
79  Dominican Republic 60.60%
80  Armenia 59.99%
81  Costa Rica 58.45%
82  Belarus 56.99%
83  Ireland 56.67%
84  Ecuador 46.69%
85  Egypt 45.43%
86  Sri Lanka 45.30%
87  El Salvador 44.70%
88  Algeria 40.94%

The list shows the degree of 4G LTE coverage in European countries and a number of other countries. It is alarming that large countries such as Germany, France and Italy have such poor coverage. These countries’ influence in the EU is significant, and it can, therefore, be difficult to see how the EU should be able to stimulate increased efforts in 5G-infrastructure development when these countries already have the brakes on.

The list is from Wikipedia

The best-selling mobile phones of all time

Since 2003 and until the end of 2018, the market has been presented with thousands of phone models. Most of them we have never heard of, but the list of Top 25 best-selling mobile phones of all time will probably evoke memories for many.

# Mobile manufacturer & model/strong> Launched Number of devices sold
1 Nokia 1100 2003 250 mil.
2 Nokia 1110 2005 250 mil.
3 Apple 6 2014 220 mil.
4 Nokia 3210 1999 160 mil.
5 Nokia 1200 2007 150 mil.
6 Nokia 6600 2003 150 mil.
7 Nokia 5230 2009 150 mil.
8 Samsung E1100 2009 150 mil.
9 Nokia 2600 2004 150 mil.
10 Motorola RAZR V3 2004 130 mil.
11 Nokia 1600 2006 130 mil.
12 Nokia 3310 2000 126 mil.
13 Nokia 1208 2007 100 mil.
14 Samsung Galaxy S4 2013 80 mil.
15 Nokia 6010 2004 75 mil.
16 Apple iPhone 5 2012 70 mil.
17 Nokia 5130 2007 65 mil.
18 Apple iPhone 4S 2011 60 mil.
19 Motorola StarTAC 1996 60 mil.
20 Motorola C200 2003 60 mil.
21 Samsung Galaxy S3 2012 60 mil.
22 Motorola C139 2005 60 mil.
23 Samsung Galaxy S7 2016 55 mil.
24 Apple iPhone 5S 2013 52 mil.
25 Nokia 6230 2004 50 mil.

The top 25 best-selling mobile phones of all time are based on the total sales figures for mobile phone manufacturers for each phone model. However, there is considerable uncertainty associated with sales figures. The real sales figures from Africa and Asia, in particular, cannot be verified. The list of best-selling phones is nevertheless an indicator of the models’ ranking among the number of devices sold.

See also: Most popular and best-selling phones today

Over the period, competition has intensified, and at the same time the number of first-time buyers has decreased. When Nokia launched its first models, it resulted in huge sales figures. Everyone had to have a mobile, and at the start and the mid-90s, Nokia was not particularly challenged by competitors. That is why Nokia also dominates the list of The best-selling mobile phones of all time.

From the first mobile phones came to market and until the end of 2018, competition between the many models from many mobile manufacturers became more intense, with declining sales figures for the individual models as a result. With the exception of the iPhone 6, no smartphone models have reached 100 million devices sold in the years after 2009.

The list of the Top-25 Best-selling Mobile Phones Of All Time also reveals that organic growth in the mobile phone market is declining sharply. In 2018, virtually the entire population of the earth from the lower middle class to the world’s wealthiest citizens over the age of 14 was equipped with a mobile phone. Today, mobile manufacturers are primarily fighting for market share. Growth in sales figures simply requires mobile manufacturers to take market share from competitors, and it’s not as straightforward as that.

Asia and China will press apples in Europe

The market for today’s smartphones is like a racetrack. Every year, hundreds of new and almost identical smartphones are launched. However, the vast majority of models fail in the global race and remain regional features. However, the sum of phones that succeed regionally but not internationally is large, making it difficult for global winners to reach worldwide with huge sales figures as a result.

Today’s most successful phone models seem to have anchored their sales in either the Western market (the US and Europe) or the Asian market. In the US and Europe, Apple is the largest, while South Korean Samsung and a number of Chinese mobile manufacturers, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, dominate sales in Asia.

However, it seems that in 2018, Apple is losing its foothold and popularity in Europe, which naturally opens the European market to Asian mobile manufacturers. Europeans have increasingly opened their eyes to cheap, high-quality smartphones and, at the same rate, have closed their eyes to Apple’s expensive, poor-quality smartphones. High-quality Asian, and especially Chinese, smartphone models are expected to put pressure on Apple in Europe. Apple can only offer one qualified response, and that is significantly lower prices on its future iPhones.

Large market shares and sales figures are history

An increasing number of online shops worldwide are also making it increasingly difficult for individual models to achieve huge sales figures. Online shops around the world represent an increasing share of global mobile sales. The large, especially Western telecommunications operators are losing massive market shares to thousands of online shops specialising in selling cheap mobile phones – without being tied to a mobile plan – from all over the world.

Today, you can buy hundreds of different smartphones online, all of which are sold without being tied to an expensive mobile plan. This distribution and sale of phones are in sharp contrast to the telecommunications operators, who primarily only sell popular mobile phones with an associated mobile plan that they can make money from. The telecommunications companies seem to stock only popular phones that they are sure can be sold, and that must, therefore, be attractive to mobile customers.

Online shops, on the other hand, typically have far fewer phones in stock, but have a significantly broader range which, to a much higher degree than the telecommunications companies, covers special needs and preferences, especially in terms of price.

Today’s competitive situation among mobile manufacturers is marked by the declining organic market growth, an ample supply on the Internet of uniform and almost equally good phones, huge price differences between brands that offer almost equally good smartphones, the consumer’s partly-locked perception of which mobile manufacturer offers the best smartphones, and the increasing consumer awareness of the quality and price of phones.

All things considered, mobile phone manufacturers of the future cannot expect to get staggering sales figures, as Nokia, in particular, did up until 2009. Mobile manufactures, on the other hand, can expect telecommunications operators’ overall share of devices sold to be reduced, while the number of devices sold through thousands of online shops will increase. The supply of smartphones in the global market will thus continue to increase, which will make it increasingly difficult for mobile manufacturers to obtain high sales figures on each model.

The above will be the case until the next revolution of “smartphones” hits us. The manufacturer behind the revolution will obtain insane sales figures and market shares for some years, but the story will repeat itself. Sales figures and market shares will level off relatively quickly as competitors get on board with similar technology and consumers open one eye to this and the other eye open to quality and price.

Summary and conclusion

This presentation of the history and development of the mobile phone and mobile technology is partly fact-based and partly based on my own analyses and views. The presentation is, a to a great extent, centred on the history and development of the mobile phone and mobile technology, as it has played out in Europe and for Europeans – the European market, European society and social behaviour among European citizens.

However, I am of the opinion that the empiricism and analyses also broadly describe much of the history of mobile technology, and the importance and impact of mobile technology on society and people in other regions around the world.

What the first mobile phones, the latest smartphones and tomorrow’s mobile technology breakthroughs have in common is that they all rest on the presence of one or more standardised network technologies covering a given geographical area. The larger the geographic area, the more potential customers – all else being equal – for today’s smartphones, tomorrow’s communication centres and associated applications. The better the network technology, the more geographically widespread it is in a given nation, the greater the economic growth will be in that nation as well. Mobile technology and the spread of technology are the keys to a society’s digital infrastructure, and digital infrastructure is the foundation of the development and economy of every knowledge society.

The history of the development of the mobile phone and mobile technology has shown that mobile manufacturers are launching innovative phones as telecommunications companies develop specific and relevant network technology. History also shows that third-party software developers and tech companies are quickly finding commercial applications for new network technology. Premium SMS, Apps, location-based Internet services and Internet platform development are examples of this.

The mobile phone is perhaps the most gripping invention in history. Few other commercial products have sold in such large numbers, had so much impact on human behaviour, and meant so much to modern society than the mobile phone and the technology it relies on.

However, the immense popularity and influence of the mobile phone are mostly due to technologies, solutions and market strategies that are not directly linked to the phone itself. SMS functionality, Internet connectivity and Apps have made the mobile indispensable to modern man, while the massive subsidisation of phones by the European telecommunications companies from 1995 to 2010, greatly contributed to the mobile phone becoming the property of the people.

Germany, France and Italy – large countries with decisive political influence in the EU – have poor 4G LTE coverage. The politicians in these countries have not provided a sufficient framework for the expansion of nationwide 4G networks in their own countries. Therefore, it is difficult to see how EU politicians should be able to contribute to the development and expansion of the upcoming 5G network. A network technology that will have a massive impact on economic growth in the EU.

Being at the forefront of mobile technology creates jobs and economic growth in society, but mobile technology also poses threats. Especially for traditional welfare societies that are not up to date with today’s mobile technology (4G) and tomorrow’s two close family members – Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. Mobile technology speeded up to 5G in combination with Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things will undoubtedly create structural shakes in traditional welfare societies. The labour market, tax policy, distribution policy and business policy in such societies – especially in the European – will be severely challenged, while countries with a highly educated population with low hourly pay and low welfare benefits will flourish when 5G, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things become globally commercial.

EU countries are severely challenged. The EU is neither politically nor structurally capable of reaping the rewards of the entry of 5G, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things into the global economy. On the contrary, the European Union – a continent without mineral resources – will lose millions of jobs. The minimum wage, welfare, education system, labour market, business, and so the entire European social order is under threat.

Mobile technology has had a significant impact on human social behaviour, forms of communication, language and media consumption. Many people in 2018 are utterly dependent on the smartphone, which is experienced as the key to social interaction, presence and recognition. It is also increasingly through the smartphone that the world’s citizens acquire knowledge, information and news. It places unique and new demands on the way traditional media, politicians, public institutions and companies convey their messages and information. Mobile technology has made it difficult to stop Fake News, online-based crime, radicalisation and data misuse.

EU legislation and the failure to liberalise the European telecommunications market are a hindrance to technological development and commercial exploitation of mobile technology in Europe. Technological developments are several light years ahead of the legislation, which means that European technology companies do not know in advance the legal framework for their business. To this end, EU politicians have shown a strong will to legislate strictly and very restrictively when they first pass laws in this area. Something that seems to distort competition as the legislation in most other countries is very deficient and forgiving. Mobile technology is roaring on the global stage as European law sneaks off to suddenly sharpen the use of the technology.

European politicians should fully liberalise the telecommunications market. European societies, telecommunications companies and citizens are not served by the politicians’ concession demands to kill telecommunications companies’ profitability and investment desire in infrastructure. EU politicians’ tight regulation of the telecommunications market has left Europe as a continent with inadequate mobile coverage and Internet access, and a continent where citizens unnecessarily pay a lot for mobile usage and Internet access. Compared to many other countries, the telecommunications infrastructure in Europe is lousy. Lack of and/or disproportionately expensive Internet access and mobile coverage also harms innovation in European companies and start-ups. Harm that ultimately hits European societies as a whole.

5G technology is knocking at the door, but Europe’s politicians show a lack of understanding of the possibilities associated with 5G, and a complete lack of action to ensure that Europe is fully covered by 5G networks. The politicians are yet to answer the knocking on the door and the risk that the future will conclude Europe is not home and leave is likely.

There has never been as many mobile manufacturers and smartphones on the market as in 2018, and the many smartphones have never been as similar in design and functionality as in 2018. Not much has happened in the basic design of the smartphone since the first iPhone came on the market in 2007. A design format that all mobile manufacturers have since sworn by. A design format that leaves little room for antenna and battery. As long as the thin brushed steel and glass design format is maintained, most smartphones are likely to result in poor mobile coverage and low battery life.

Until 2015, the historical prices of today’s most popular mobile phones have remained relatively constant between 1995 and 2015. The introductory price of the Nokia 2110 in 1995 and the iPhone 6S in 2015, in today’s money (2018), has remained at the same level, approximately USD 1,400. In 2015, for the first time, there was real competition on price. Huawei, Sony and LG in particularly introduced smartphones that were significantly cheaper, and in many cases, better than the most expensive and popular smartphones from Apple and Samsung. From 2015 to today (end of 2018), the trend of introducing cheap high-end smartphones has intensified. In 2018, it was basically only Apple and Samsung that stuck with the strategy of selling their top models for USD 1,400 or more, while the number of mobile manufacturers selling just as good or even significantly better phones for only a third of the price has increased dramatically.

By the end of 2018, Apple, in particular, has been profoundly challenged on price. An increasing number of European consumers have become acutely aware of the price differences on iPhones vs an ocean of other better and significantly cheaper smartphones in the market. A consumer awareness that will ultimately result in Apple ending up selling fewer iPhones in Europe than in previous years. Huawei smartphones and many other Chinese mobile manufacturers stand to consume large market shares of the US apple. Unless nothing unexpected happens, that can obscure the ordinary mechanisms governing supply and demand of a given product.

However, popular phones from Samsung and Apple have a good foothold with the European telecommunications companies, which even at the end of 2018 will mainly subsidise the marketing of smartphones from these two mobile manufacturers, Huawei, Sony and a few others. The telecommunications companies continue to make money from tying their mobile plan through the sale of popular smartphones, and while there is still an overwhelming natural demand for iPhones from Apple and Samsung smartphones, there is rational reasoning from the telecommunications companies for subsidising.

From 2007 to 2018, consumers have increasingly become aware of a much more extensive range of smartphones that can be purchased online in specialised online shops that sell phones cheaply and without a being tied to a specific mobile plan. The gradually increasing number of globally anchored online shops that sell unsubscribed phones has increasingly enabled lesser-known mobile manufacturers to distribute their mobile phones in the international market. This, combined with the declining organic growth in mobile sales, has made it much more difficult for the individual mobile manufacturer to obtain the huge sales figures of the past for their phone models.

The smartphones of the future have to do away with today’s thin and streamlined design. Tomorrow’s smartphones require more space for better batteries and better antennas. In the longer term, it’s natural to incorporate many of today’s smartphone functionalities into the human body. However, better batteries and mobile antennas and further development of the mobile screen are the next stop for the smartphone of the future.

The mobile technology of the future will embrace the opportunities associated with 5G technology, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Artificial Reality. Technological advances in each of these areas could potentially revolutionise mobile technology. Technological advancements in all four areas will undoubtedly revolutionise our society and change human behaviour on many levels.

Nicolas Fredriksen,
Telecommunications Analyst and Founder of SmartphonesRevealed.com

The history of the mobile in live images

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here we have compiled a number of YouTube videos that give you a flashback of some of history’s most ground-breaking mobile phones. If you are interested in today’s smartphones, we serve the latest test & reviews here on SmartphonesRevealed.com and on our Youtube Channel where you all so can comment on our youtube videos.

Martin Cooper, the man who invented the mobile phone, looks back at the development of the world’s first mobile phone. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000 came on the market in 1983.

A TV commercial for the Motorola DynaTAC 8000. The commercial that appeared on the US TV screens in 1983 gives a funny picture of mobile telephony as something new and unknown that will revolutionise the world.

An Indian TV commercial for the Nokia 1100 which came on the market in 2003. At the time of writing, the Nokia 1100 is the world’s best-selling mobile phone with over 250 million devices sold.

A TV commercial for the Nokia 2110. The model opened the world to Nokia and became their first major success with over 20 million devices sold.

The Motorola StarTAC, the world’s first flip phone, was launched in 1996 and became a massive success with over 60 million devices sold.

A TV commercial for the Sony Ericsson Walkman, the world’s first music mobile with a built-in MP3 player.

TV commercials for the Nokia N Gage – the world’s first gamer mobile.

The Nokia N95 – the first camera mobile that could really challenge traditional digital cameras.

The Motorola V3 Razr became a hugely popular flip phone. It was small and thin and sharp.

The iPhone 2G – Apple’s first iPhone set the standard for future smartphones. Design and user-friendliness proved to catch on.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which was launched in 2015, became the first major successful challenger to Apple’s dominance.

The Huawei P8 from 2015 also took up the fight against Apple’s dominance. It was significantly cheaper and also better than the day’s latest iPhones on a number of crucial specifications.

The Sony Xperia Z5 from 2015 was also a challenge to Apple’s dominance. Xperia Z5 had a tremendously good camera and was also the world’s first waterproof mobile phone.

About the author, Nicolas Fredriksen

Name: Nicolas Aandahl Fredriksen
Born: 1971 in Trondheim, Norway.
Education: Economy at CBS in Copenhagen, 1996 – 2001.

Nicolas Fredriksen has two daughters and is enjoying family life, skiing and hiking in the mountains. He enjoys the company of; friends, books, wine, football and triathlon.

You can follow and read more on Nicolas Fredriksen on LinkedIn.


2000 – 2001
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Copenhagen.
2001 – 2006
Independent Telecom Consultant.
Launches TelePrisTjek.dk, a price comparison site for telecom services and kicks off his career as an independent analyst on telecom in Danish and Nordic media.
Closes down It & Telestyrelsen and takes over the publicly owned Teleprisguide.dk and thus becomes the leading Telecom Analyst in Denmark.
2013 – 2016
Takes over Mobil.nu, Mediemac.dk, launches Mobilkunden.dk, establishes PricePusher.dk and forms Mobilselskabet ApS of which he also becomes the CEO.
Mobilselskabet Aps with a total of 400 000 unique visitors per month, becomes the largest provider of news, price comparisons, test and reviews of mobile phones, tablets, broadband and mobile plans in Denmark.
Launches TrendsAndCows.com and RecoverInboundLinks.com which respectively analyses Search Trends on Google and Bing and offers effective link building.
Launches SmartphonesRevealed.com – an international news & price comparison site for smartphones.