According to Telstra, this 1981 phone could store just 16 numbers and alerted owners of an incoming call with a honking horn or flashing headlights.
Telstra's targets for the service were 4200 users in Melbourne by 1986 an 4700 in Sydney. The heyday of the service was, however, short-lived. Telecom launched its analogue AMPS cellular service in February 1987 with a handheld 'brick' or a portable unit that was the size of a couple of real house bricks. Numbers began with 018.
However the 007 service lingered on for a good few years. It was closed down in NSW and Victoria at the end of June 1991, in Queensland in mid 1992, and in South Australia and Western Australia in mid 1993.
In the early days of cellular not only did Telecom have a monopoly over the network and the service, it also ruled the handset market: choosing a handful of suppliers and dictating what devices they could offer for sale.
At launch of the AMPS cellular service Telecom was forecasting that it would have 200,000 users within a decade. It reached the 250,000 mark in 1991, less than three years after the launch. This event came as a very pleasant surprise to Sydney builder Ron McAuley, proprietor of Tarron Building Pty Ltd in Hunters Hill. As the 250,000th subscriber and was rewarded with a diamond-studded, gold-plated mobile phone valued at $20,000 and a week's holiday in Boston Massachusetts, where the Alexander Graham Bell Museum of Telephony was celebrating the 115th anniversary of Bell's invention!
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