This weekend marks 30 years since Racal Electronics revealed the name of its new mobile phone service as ‘Vodafone’.
The name was announced at a press conference in London on 22nd March 1984, although it wasn’t until 1991 that Vodafone demerged from Racal and became a separate company.
According to the original news release, “A subscriber to the Racal Vodafone service travelling by car between London and Edinburgh or Exeter, for instance, will be able to make or receive national and international telephone calls with ease throughout the entire journey - and on leaving the vehicle still use the portable Vodafone to remain constantly in touch anywhere and at any time day or night.”
Vodafone’s name was created by the company working with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. It’s inspired by the words ‘voice’, ‘data’ and ‘phone’, although the ad agency’s idea of using ‘fone’ was originally rejected by the company’s first CEO Sir Gerry Whent.
There are currently around 419 million customers connected to Vodafone or its partner networks.