Weje Sandén from financial periodical Veckans Affärer showed me that first mobile phone...which required the user to be a bit of a bodybuilder:
"That year the first automatic mobile telephone system opened in Stockholm. Its weight was 40 kilo. You managed to make 3 or four calls and then the battery was in the car was flat..It was like - you made one call - and then you made a call to get it serviced. It was like an old fashioned telephone. You made a call and you were connected automatically to the normal telephone system."
It looks like an old rotary phone that the top has been lifted off and re-used...
"Yes exactly it was not so reliable..."
A far cry from the pocket sized, bling covered gems of today with their polyphonic ring tones.
50 years - what about a mid-life crisis. Every one has them where can the mobile phone go to from here?
"Actually the fastest growing markets are in Africa and Asia. Today two and a half billion people have a mobile phone. It is actually the fastest growing technology in mankind's history. If you compare it to the PC and the internet - you have two and a half billion users of mobile phones - one billion users of the internet and nine hundred million - or nearly a billion PCs so its more than twice as big and still growing faster than ever. Last year we added 400 million new users in the world so I think it will continue for quite a long time."
And what has it meant for Sweden?
"Its one of the country's, what I would call "base industries". It stands for more than 10% of the countries exports. It provides employment for approximately 150 000 Swedes. Its one of the biggest inventions in modern Swedish history I would say."
2.5 billion people can't be wrong, but what do you think mobile phones mean to our lives?
"To stay connected. I was in India in April and what I saw was that I could send an SMS about when I saw an elephant walking on the street. That is the thing about mobile phones - they are so direct"
Sweden's Ericsson is the world's largest maker of mobile phone networks. The company reported earlier this month that third-quarter profit had grown by 17 percent, boosted by strong results at its co-owned handset maker Sony Ericsson. And as the world's number one company in its field, Ericsson is proudly watching those 50 candles being blown out on this particular birthday cake. Jan Uddenfeldt is Senior vice president:
Any sneak preview of what's to come?
" The next step is what we call mobile broadband. This means the broadband technology can be used in laptops and you can always get in contact. With the latest 3G technology we can offer up to 4megabits per second - so it really is broadband technology."
From the futuristic, back to the basics. Östen Mäkitalo has been described as the grand old man of mobile telephony.
The way forward often requires a little daring. Was mobile telephony immediately recognized as the gold-mine it was or was it considered risky business? Was it crystal clear that this was going to be the next big thing?
"Definitely not - because as late as by the end of the 1970's when we were buying the equipment high level people in the industry and our management thought that - Ok mobile phone penetration could reach about 3% of the population. If they had known that this was going to be a multi-multi billion collar business I don't think they would have allowed our group to go on...."
But are you a mobile phone-a-phobe? Don't worry -- as Weje Sandén from Veckans Affärer:
"There is always a button that you can switch it off if you want.."Listen to the report:
Do Europeans need or want to get any closer together? As romania and Bulgaria prepare to join the EU in 2 months time we look at how they're being welcomed, or not. As the banlieues burn we look at inner city deprivation and at what's being done to stop the rot. Europe's getting bigger all the time and our leaders in Brussels are keen for it to keep expanding. And there are plenty of states keen to join. Turkey and several Balkan states are currently front of the queue to start negotiations. What some predict will happen then is a mass-migration as east europeans seek better wages as they go west. So what do europeans think of the expansion and the prospect of the continent experiencing a massive labour force on the move? Network Europe's reporters have been out on the streets of the capitals to find out.
The United Kingdom recently announced it would not be extending its "open door" policy to workers from Romania and Bulgaria, when they join the European Union in just under two months' time. That move comes in reaction to the phenomenal influx of workers following the last EU enlargement in 2004, with actual numbers far, far exceeding official estimates. And the biggest wave of immigration in British history is really making its mark on the country.
Since Spain opened its labour market to workers from the new EU member states Poles have been searching for jobs there. But Spaniards are beginning to fear the influx of migrant workers more and more, despite the fact unemployment between July and September hit its lowest point in 27 years. Poles used to take up just seasonal jobs, but now, many of them have decided to stay for good. Netwrok Europe has been meeting some migrant workers on their tea breaks.
The starting point for all discussions about deprived suburbs and the violence they suffer is still the rioting in Paris last year that stunned Europe. The problems that led to those incidents have not gone away. Most young people of north African origin living in France's deprived suburbs, as French citizens, are entitled to vote. But a nationwide campaign launched last year has failed to convince young people to go and register to vote en masse. Many of them say politicians are out of touch with their lives. Network Europe found out why.
And finally, here is this month's Network Europe quiz. Don't bother googling it - we just tried and it came up with nothing useful - As you know we love to fix qoutas on everything here in Europe and of course those products all then have a quota surplus - so this month's question is: How many olympic size swimming pools would the european wine lake fill? Answer please to firstname.lastname@example.org. Special prizes are prepared for the winner.
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