Ericsson GO118 and GS18 are the sample mobile phones were built by Orbitel, launched in 1995-97. Which also sold under Orbitel label as 905 and 907.
Orbitel Mobile Communications Ltd established in 1987 in Basingstoke, UK. Orbitel was originally a joint venture between the British technology companies Plessey Corporation and Racal Telecommunications with each owning a 50%. Racal eventually bought out Plessey to fully own the company. Orbitel was setup to manufacture and supply analogue mobile phones to Vodafone (also owned by Racal).
Orbitel beat Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola to make the first ever GSM phone, the Orbitel TPU 900, which became available in 1991. Nokia had become the world’s second largest mobile phone manufacturer and launched their first GSM model, the Nokia 1011 on the 10th November 1992.
However, the Orbitel company became heavily involved in research and development of GSM in their own right leading to the launch of tan independent range of GSM mobiles.
In 1991 Racal Telecommunications announced that L M Ericsson was acquiring a 50% share in Orbitel for £45 million. Ericsson subsequently took over the entire company in 1996 resulting in Orbitel becoming Ericsson Mobile Platforms.
Orbitel was an Ericsson in miniature that made both phones and base stations. Orbitel had started early with digital radio, including CT2 and was very far ahead with GSM evolution and it is said that Ericsson bought in order to secure a base for their own development efforts that had failed.
Ericsson Mobile Platforms in Basingstoke remained in the platform business until 2011, at ST-Ericsson directing, when it closed down for good.
Ericsson introduced the GS18 at CeBIT’97 (also launched by Ericsson is the new GSM Data Card GC25).
GS18 combines all the features of a normal handset with built in SMS (Short Messages Service), fax, data and Phone Book Management.
As the first handset on the market to offer this capability, it allows significant cost savings for business users who are sending faxes and data, as the need for a separate PCMCIA card is eliminated.
While the GS18 came with data connectivity (built-in modem and data cable), the GO118 didn’t have this feature.