The shape of phones to come was sketched out as she unveiled the third wave of licensing for parts of the radio spectrum, to create a new range of hi-tech services. The new phones, which will exploit improving digital technology and replace the old, analogue variety first introduced in the 1980s, are expected to offer the same sound quality as landline telephones. The new services, called Universal Mobile Telephone Services, should also allow users access to faster e-mail, video conferencing, mobile electronic banking and databases from their mobile handset.
It's a video-camera, television, home shopping and Internet terminal; certainly not anything as ordinary as a phone. But that's what the mobile phone of the next century will be like, Barbara Roche, the trade and industry minister, predicted yesterday.