Vodacom and MTN launched the first cellular services in South Africa in 1994, and the uptake of mobile telephony was so fast that it surprised most industry players.
South Africans could not wait to get their hands on the latest devices at the time, like the Alcatel HB100, Ericsson GH198, Motorola 7200, Siemens S3, and Nokia 2110.
As mobile technologies advanced, cellular phones became smaller, battery life improved, and they received cool features like games, custom ringtones, and cellular data support.
The miniaturisation of mobile phones came to a sudden end with the advent of smartphones, when large touchscreen devices started to gain popularity.
While smartphones are all the rage now, most people who used mobile phones in the 90s still have a warm feeling towards their old favourites.
A recent MyBroadband survey asked South African IT professionals which classic mobile phones they think were the best. The most popular selections are listed below.
It was one of the most successful mobile phones ever. It weighed 133 grams and offered over 4 hours of talk time. It also sported changeable front and back covers.
Motorola Razr V3
The phone racked up sales of 130 million units. It featured a TFT 256K colour display, offered games, and weighed 95 grams.
It offered users downloadable monophonic ringtones, weighed 151 grams, and had a 5-line monochrome graphic screen.
The phone offered an advanced user interface with menu icons, and featured an infrared port.
Nokia 6310 and 6310i
This phone was very popular for its robustness, and featured tri-band reception, Java, and a blue-backlit LCD Screen.
This device offered many cool features at the time, like an alarm clock, an HSCSD modem, a web client, and 3 games.
It was rugged, had excellent battery life, and featured an 84 x 48 pixel monochrome LCD with four LED back lights.
It offered a 128 x 160 pixel TFT screen, a microSD card slot, and SMS, EMS, MMS, e-mail, and WAP support. The phone weighed 80 grams.
Sony Ericsson k800i
It featured a 3.2-megapixel digital camera with a xenon flash, a protective lens cover, and was the first Sony Cyber-shot branded phone.
The clamshell communicator series was a popular choice among business people. It offered a QWERTY keyboard and Internet connectivity.