Mobile magnates climb the 'Rich List'

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The Independent Online

Fifteen years ago, they were the size of a house brick and needed recharging every half an hour - today they fit in the palm of your hand and serenade you with polyphonic ringtones. And, as all this the relentless upgrading was occurring, mobile phones also created a new generation of multimillionaires.

Fifteen years ago, they were the size of a house brick and needed recharging every half an hour - today they fit in the palm of your hand and serenade you with polyphonic ringtones. And, as all this the relentless upgrading was occurring, mobile phones also created a new generation of multimillionaires.

Twelve British businessmen - half of whom are under the age of 45 - have amassed wealth in excess of £50m through the mobile phone, according to The Sunday Times Rich List, published yesterday.

Sir Richard Branson, the seventh richest person in Britain with a fortune estimated at £3,000m and an empire spanning everything from planes and trains to wine and weddings, has seen his Virgin mobile business become one of his most profitable. It netted him £511m when it was floated on the stock market last year.

The Phones4u founder, John Caudwell, 52, saw his profits rise by 50 per cent in 2003, putting him 29th in the list with a fortune of £1,280m. Charles Dunstone, 40, and David Ross, 39, schoolfriends who started Carphone Warehouse, are worth £550m and £360m respectively - not a bad return on their initial investment of Dunstone's life savings of £6,000 in 1989.

But even these success stories pale in comparison with the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, whose £14,800m wealth makes him the richest person in Britain, ahead of Roman Abramovich (£7,500m) and the Duke of Westminster (£5,600m).

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