Where did mobile phones come from? What makes them so attractive? Why have they come to represent a dominant part of our everyday lives? Jon Agar's investigation into the origins and impact of mobile phones on a global scale is an important and necessary contribution to research in this area.
His discussion of complex and 'dry' details of mobile network expansion and commodification in various countries, is clear and accessible, with relevant examples given to elucidate various points. By linking developments in various countries together, Agar is able to paint a clear picture, of the global development of this ubiquitous technology. Agar's extended investigation into the impact of mobile phones on various aspects of culture, as well as the possible future of these technologies, is strengthened through a drawing together of the historical patterns he lays down throughout the book.
Although at times Agar can gloss quickly over some interesting points that might have benefited from further discussion (cultural impacts in general, in the third world, and further possible trajectories for mobile technology uses as examples). The flip side of this is that it is a quick read: the reader quickly gains valuable knowledge and insight into what is essentially and unknown and un-investigated aspect of very recent history.
Agar offers the reader an essential and helpful text for anyone interested in or investigating mobile phones and their place within society and culture. The reader really develops an appreciation for this small piece of technology that seems to be changing large parts of our everyday lives.