25 years ago, India made its first phone call using a Nokia phone

It was July of 1995, the then-Union Telecom Minister Sukh Ram made the first wireless call with the former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu, using a handheld mobile phone. The phone call was exchanged between the Writer’s Building in Calcutta (Kolkata), and Sanchar Bhawan in New Delhi over Modi Telstra’s MobileNet service.

The two buildings are about 1,509km from each other, or about 27 hours away. It was a big achievement for the Indian government and the pioneering telecoms. But unknown to many people, this call is also a big achievement for the Nokia brand, then the leading mobile phone manufacturer.

While it is not exactly known which phone model was used, it’s been confirmed that two Nokia phones were used to make the historic call. Some suggest that it might be the security-focused Nokia 2080, but it could also be the mainstream Nokia 350 or the rugged Nokia 880.

While we may not be able to tell which Nokia phones were actually used, it is still quite a proud moment for the company. Not only did this call changed the Indian telco forever, but it also forever cemented the company’s reputation to what may have been their biggest market before.

The current Nokia Mobile may still have a long way to redeem that same reputation, but we hope it has a better long-term plan for one of the world’s biggest consumer markets.

Winning India is winning the game. The Nokia brand has that edge.