30th Anniversary of the Vodafone Name

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The ‘Vodafone’ name was first revealed to the world 30 years ago today. Racal Electronics Plc announced the name of its “new portable and mobile public telecommunications service” at a media conference in London on 22 March 1984 and promised “to provide a truly portable and mobile nationwide public telephone network unavailable today.”

The 1984 media release also stated that “initially, the new service is likely to find wide use among people constantly on the move such as business executives, sales representatives, journalists, doctors and veterinary surgeons. Strong demand is expected from nationwide fleet operators typically those involved in construction, distribution, service, motoring and the public utilities.”

The Vodafone name was inspired by the words ‘voice’, ‘data’ and ‘phone’ and was conceived of by one of the company’s original directors and the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Saatchi & Saatchi’s proposal to spell ‘phone’ as ‘fone’ caused the name to be initially rejected by the then CEO Sir Gerry Whent but he relented in the end, reputedly saying “in for a penny, in for a pound – you can have your flipping ‘f’ as well.” He later came to regard the name as a masterstroke.