Down memory lane with Alcatel phones – part 1

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How many of us remember Alcatel mobile phones? Well, we do, and with fond memories.

Some of our very first mobile phones after GSM technology arrived these shores were mobile devices by Alcatel. Unfortunately, Alcatel does not make mobile phones any longer, though you may find a few models still bearing that brand. But those are now produced and serviced by another company, TCT Mobile Limited. Alcatel is now Alcatel-Lucent and are into mobile and fixed networks and related services

Anyway, here is our brief walk down memory lane with Alcatel.

The Golden Years
In our opinion, the period 2000 to 2002 was Alcatel’s golden era. The company produced decently-featured and good-looking phones. While they had uite a number of low-end to mid-tier devices in their line-up, the products looked good, felt good and got the job done decently well.

Before we start, you need to understand Alcatel’s numbering plan then: 3xx was low-end, 5xx mid-tier, and 7xx top-tier. For example, OT300 was low-end. The next set of low-end was named OT311.

Also, OT500 was mid-tier, and the next generation of mid-tier was the OT512, followed by the OT526.

In the high-end class, first came the OT700, followed by OT715, and then OT735. Hopefully, you get the picture now. If you don’t, what does it matter? Its amostly past tense now.

Remember the OneTouch 300-series? Full list: 300, 301, 302, 303. Those were low-end fun-looking devices, and in funky colours too. But they didn’t look bad at all.

Alcatel OT300-series

Next on the scale was the OT311, a handy little guy with one of the finest WAP (v1.1) browsers of the day. It was announced in 2001, and had an orange-backlit monochrome display. It also featured not just SMS but EMS. Who here remembers EMS? Well, Yomi does. He also owned an OT311 (his 4th GSM device) and spent long nights browsing via CSD (Circuit Switched Data) a.k.a GSM dial-up. According to him, the 311’s browser was a joy to use back then. Wasn’t that when WAP browsing was N50 per minute? Sheesh. What was he thinking?

Alcatel OT311-series

Moving up the class scale, we come to the OT 500. Announced in 2000 when external antennas were still the vogue, this classy candybar phone for the business-minded had a chubby antenna sticking out the top – and still looked good. The OT500 had no WAP browser, but its twin, the OT501 did WAP over CSD.

Alcatel OT500-series

None of us did get our hands on the OT500-series, but some of us went window-shopping a lot back then, wishing we could come up with the funds to buy one. Ah, if only wishes were horses… Also of note is the fact that the Alcatel OT502 was Alcatel’s first GPRS device. Welcome to the world of always-on mobile internet connectivity.

Alcatel OT511-series


There was alsothe OT511-series, which we had little interaction with, but again, it was a good-looking, well-built device And by this time, gone was the stubby external antenna.

We are not through yet though. We still have the OT526, OT 700, OT715, and OT735 to go – in the second part of this series, that is.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

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17 comments

  1. I remember with nostalgia my 302. A cute small and smart deep blue phone. One function I remember well was the phone had international dialing codes you can use for dialing abroad. Not a bad phone at all. It saved us from that hunky brick size motorola that was in the same price range then (I can’t remember the model).

  2. Mine was an Alcatel 301, bought from Office Devices, in Ikeja.

    It was my first mobile phone. Those were the days when you see a missed call, you immediately call back! Like getting that your dream car and cruising everywhere -about town, in it!

    Unfortunately, the phone was snatched @ Berger @ gunpoint, in a bus while returning from a business trip from Abuja to Lagos. First time I would get a gun pointed @ me (I was so sacred I forgot to ask the robbers if it was a toy gun)!

    Nice, diminutive and useable phone..

  3. I never used an alcatel phone but i can remember my first phone (a siemens c35) sent to me by an uncle from london, I was always proud to flaunt the phone among my friends in school @that time. Then nokia3310 and Motorola talk about were status symbols. It’s really nice going down memory lane, May God give us all long life to tell our experiences in a decades time.

  4. Won’t it be a good idea to allow for uploading of pics to profiles on mobilitynigeria? Eyebeekay, kay123, mahogany, azeez, deoladoctor, arche etc. might just be the guy on the next street or someone you’ve met while shoping, window shoping, in a viewing centre, BRT, ………

  5. Ahh…. Down the memory lane. I think my first phone was Sagem MC3000. Nice looking phone but not so practical. It was a hell checking for your balance with this phone.

    Alcatel were making solid phones then. I had the OT311. It was a very nice phone with orange background. A very efficient phone. I reluctantly gave it to a brother of mine.

    Thanks for taking us back the memory lane alireta.

  6. @kay123,

    ……deoladoctor,…. etc. might just be the guy on the next street or someone you’ve met while shoping, window shoping, in a viewing centre, BRT, ………

    Fat chance. I am way down in Sapele, Delta State and have been resident here since 1985. I only come to lagos once in a while.

  7. do you know that with the Alcatel 511 you can blacklist a contact in your phone book without the aid of a third party app unlike our “modern” symbian phones today?
    i loved this feature.

  8. @EyeBeeKay,

    Yeah, about 20 minutes will take you down to Sapele from Benin.

    Talking about dial up internet, i can’t be too sure about this on the Alcatel OT311.
    I tend to confuse this with my former Trium handset. One of them has the ability to browse by CDS.

  9. my first phone was a sony j7, a beauty 2 behold. it had a grayscale screen, lovely ringtones, a jog dial n well-sculpted body. it was 1 of the ist phones to have t9-predictive text messaging. simply put, it was a beauty 2 behold

  10. My first phone was a siemens C55, i also used to use the CSD wap by mtech to browse then, now when i look back at those times i also ask my self the same thing, what the hell was i thinkin. Although i used to be happy then, the cellphone even had a builtin email client

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