Mobile phones were, not so long ago, something that only people with plenty of money would own.
The image of the city banker with a mobile phone, yelling “Buy! Buy! Buy!” into his handset is one of the great cliches of the 1990s. In 2014, a mobile phone is one of the most commonplace things you can own. What happened?
As time has gone by, the importance of having a mobile phone has increased – at least in our minds.
But given that we mostly have home phones, computers with email, and failing either of those a postal service, is a mobile phone an essential?
It would be hard to argue that it is a human need, at any rate.
The reason that it is seen as important to own a mobile phone is, mostly, the fact that it is so unusual not to have one.
Most people do, so they use it as their primary mode of communication with people who are not within touching distance.
This being the case, it is a matter of convenience to be able to be contacted by them – so even if you can take or leave it, having a cell phone is convenient.
Additionally, while 1990s mobile phones were unwieldy, poorly connected and expensive, the modern models and networks are a lot more reliable and handy, and retail for ever lower prices.
So it is partly the case that it has become more beneficial to own one, but also partly the fact that it has become less prohibitive to buy and maintain them, that has made mobile phones so prevalent.