In the mid- to late-1990s, mobile operators could increase turnover and return a profit more easily than now. Then, miniaturization was driving down the size and costs of making handsets, allowing a range of devices to be rolled out, appealing to wide end-user budgets and tastes. Next came the task of segmenting airtime pricing for different volumes of usage, and it was then a case of having enough retail outlets and distribution channels to reach out and tap into pent-up demand for telephone services “on the go.” Not to belittle the remarkable level of innovation involved in getting a cellular network to work with the volumes of subscribers and voice traffic generated, but by the mid-1990s many technological challenges had been overcome.
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