A cellphone transmission mast, disguised as a palm tree, at George Campbell Technical High School in Durban. With the introduction of cellphones, reception was initially sporadic and unreliable.

Cape Town – Cellphones are now a big part of our lives.

Phonefinder (www.phonefinder.co.za) is a website which compares contract deals available from all of South Africa’s cellphone networks, service providers and device brands. It is South Africa’s first comparative cellphone contract listing company, listing more than 5 000 deals at any one time.

The company has compiled the following 10 facts about cellphones, including the fact that there is now a phobia – called nomophobia – which is the fear of being without your cellphone (or phone signal).

1 The first cellphone call was made in 1974 by Martin Cooper. He was a former Motorolla inventor.

2 The first cellphone was developed when there wasn’t even a cordless phone for the home. It weighed 1kg.

3 The name “cellphone” comes from the way the device operates. Towers serve areas with signal and are divided up into cells. Each cell connects with the next and ensures a seamless connection. The first use of the word “cellphone” was in 1984.

4 The first cellphone went on sale in the US at a whopping price of almost $4 000 in 1983. In today’s terms that’s roughly $9 000 (R106 000).

5 South Africa received the cellphone in 1994 and was initially only on offer through Vodacom, which at the time was spearheaded by Alan Knott-Craig (who later became the chief executive of Cell C).

6 Your phone has more computing power than the computer used for the Apollo 11 moon landing.

7 The average phone has 19 times more bacteria than toilet handles. Oh, and more people in the world have a cellphone than toilets.

8 The average person unlocks their phone 110 times every day.

9 South Africa has a population of 51.8 million, but a total mobile connection of 66.1 million. That’s a 128 percent active connection to population.

10 There are more cellphones in South Africa than there are taxis, TVs and radios combined.

Independent on Sunday