How 6 famous mobile brands got their names

28 · APR ·2017


Vodafone were not always called Vodafone. Back in 1982, they went by Racal Strategic Radio Limited subsidiary of Racal Electronics, or RSRLSORE for short.

Now that you’re here, I should tell you that there is no number 6 (or 5). In future do not click on such click-bait social media introductory lines (if you came via social media, that is). We are serious journalists at FluidOne and will never mislead you into reading such sensationalist drivel. Now that’s over, it’s time to begin the crazy countdown!

4. Vodafone

Interesting fact, Vodafone were not always called Vodafone. Back in 1982, they went by Racal Strategic Radio Limited subsidiary of Racal Electronics, or RSRLSORE for short. At the time RSRLSORE were the UK’s largest maker of military radio technology and through a joint venture with Telco Millicom, commissioned the world’s first pocket-sized mobile phone.

‘Pocket-sized’

Whilst developing the tech, they realised they needed a name to reflect what it the phone would actually do. In this case, they planned to provision both voice and data services over it, hence voda (voice & data) fone (phone). I personally think Pokéfone works better but let’s move on.


Motorola were not always called Motorola. Actually, they were Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, named after visionary founders Paul & Joseph Galvin.

3. Motorola

Interesting fact, Motorola were not always called Motorola. Actually, they were Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, named after visionary founders Paul & Joseph Galvin. Galvin Manufacturing Corporation primarily produced battery-eliminators, devices that enabled battery-powered radios to operate on household electricity – thus eliminating the batteries. They were very literal brothers.

Anyway, when this tech becomes obsolete a couple of years later they decided to enter the car radio market which they heard were taking off (not literally) at the time. Paul Galvin wanted a new brand name for the car radio and whilst they wanted to just call it Motor Radio, they saw that it was ‘in’ to add the suffix – ola to the end words (Think Crayola), and went with Motorola. The name was so successful that they eventually changed the business name to Motorola.

2. Virgin

Whilst there are many conflicting stories of how Virgin got their name, including it originally being called Slipped Disk, after Richard’s back, the story we like to believe actually came from the man himself in an interview from the early 2000’s.

‘I was a little inexperienced at the time’ he said.

And we’ll leave that there…

1. Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile was named after Tesco, a multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer. Sometimes the stories will be boring.

That's me done for a couple of weeks. We'll be back next month with some more words on the screen.

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Posted by Dan Pope