Alcatel 9109 HA
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Standard: GSM 900
Factory Code: 9109 HA DEN1-S
Notes: This is the first GSM mobile phone ever made in France. The Alcatel 9109 HA was made in limited production in 1991, but its commercial debut arrived only in 1992. It was discontinued in the early months of 1995.
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The 9109 HA was the first GSM cellular telephone ever made by the French company Alcatel. The phone was introduced to the press at the 1991 CeBit and was put in a limited production for test purposes, although the real commercial debut the of the 9109 HA was in 1992, when the first units began to be distributed in electronics shops.
A large amount of 9109 HA were exported to Russia, that in 1993 was beginning to adopt the GSM service, replacing the old NMT lines, and the 9109 HA would become very famous there due to the fact that was the first GSM mobile phone available in that country.
The phone itself was entirely made in France, in the Alcatel assembly plant of Laval, and it featured many exclusive patents. Technically, the 9109 HA was inspired by the analogue Motorola Microtac 9800x, except it didn't have a LED display, replaced by a two rows dot-matrix LCD one, and it didn't have the active flip, since it was patented by Motorola. Like the 9800x, the 9109 featured the microphone integrated into the flip rather than in the telephone body, and a water-resistant chiclet keypad. A particular aspect of this phone was that the SIM card was inserted into the flip, rather than the cellphone body, and the charging connector was put on the battery.
But despite the similarities with the more popular Microtac, the Alcatel 9109 HA didn't have the expected success. Yes, it was the first GSM flip phone, but it was bulky, the menu was awkward and difficult to use and the non-retractable antenna was a huge drawback for the people who wanted to keep their cellphone into their pocket, and indeed, the 9109 HA turned out to be an economical failure, since the company lost millions of Francs on every phone they made.
Not even the decision to sell it in bundle with a one-year SFR contract improved the poor sales of the handset, and it was silently discontinued in the early months of 1995, replaced by the more modern HB series, which was technically based on the previous 9109 HA, but it featured many improvements and a more compact size.
Unfortunately, in order to use this phone, a Mini-SIM card with a large chip is required. (5V) Some modern SIMs with small chips will not work.
Hi friends, some weeks ago I became a (lucky?) owner of an Alcatel 9109 HA, the first GSM cellphone ever made by the French company. But I have a... Big problem with this phone. I have searched all over the web for a new battery, but unfortunately I haven't found one. So, I was wondering if there's someone who has a working spare battery for this phone? Even a regenerated one. I have only one battery, which seems to hold a charge, but the phone keeps resetting, so I guess the voltage isn't enough to keep it permanently on.
Is there anybody here who owns this phone? I can pay with Paypal if you have a good battery for that phone. Please, let me know! Thank you very much!
Problem solved friends! I received today an old 16k SIM card with the large chip still active, and the phone works properly without resetting itself. It makes and receive calls as it should, and the ringtone is maybe too loud. :mrgreen:
I also have found a new-old stock battery for the phone. The seller tested it for me and not only accepted the first charge, but it lasted two days on his 9109 HA. Here are the first impressions from a brief usage of the phone:
-When you switch the phone on, it says "Self Test, Wait" and then "Please Wait". It does this a couple of times, before it finds network. When the phone detects the network and registers to it, on the first row appears the country code, usually in capital letters or in numbers in case the country code isn't registered in the firmware of the phone. On the second row of the display, there's the country code and the network code (in my case, on the first row there's I and on the second one "I 88", 88 is the code for Wind, an Italian mobile operator).
-The phone obviously doesn't have the CLI feature nor it's activatable, due to the age of the handset. Another particular thing is that it doesn't access to the phonebook of the SIM, so you can store your numbers only in the memory of the phone, quite a nuisance if (like me) you have a lot of numbers stored into the SIM. It also doesn't receive nor send SMS, although there's an envelope icon on the display, which probably is related to voice-mail I guess (I don't have the user manual of this phone)
-The audio quality is very good: the speaker and the buzzer are quite loud, and you can adjust the volume of the earpiece by pressing Vol + or - during a call. The ringtone volume can be adjusted in the menu. Like all the GSM phones of the early '90s, you can't change the ringtone nor you can edit the greeting message. However, a curious thing is that when you turn it off, the phone displays "Bye" for a very short time, before switching off. Funny! :lol:
-The phone was conceived to be a direct competitor of the analogue Motorola Microtac 9800x and Classic series. Both of them, like the Alcatel 9109 HA, had the microphone integrated into the flip rather than the cellphone body, but unlike the Alcatel, they had a more advanced menu and a large choose of ringtones. On the other hand, the 9109 HA allows you to put a password for the menu, along with the PIN code and the phone lock code.
-The LCD display behaves like an LED one. Why? Because this is probably one of the most singular things I have noticed on this cellphone. Basically, you can view the display only when the backlight is on. After the backlight turns off, the display disappears as well. In order to see text again, you must press a random key and the backlight (along with the display) will turn on. It also turns on when you receive a call. The green LED located above the display is permanently on, in order to show that the phone is up and running. So we can say that the display of the 9109 HA, despite is a LCD, behaves exactly like an LED one. I'd expect to see this behavior on a Dynatac or a Microtac with an LED display, rather than on a cellphone with an LCD one. But these little quirks make French cellphones so lovely!
I will keep fiddling with the phone in the next days, and I'll use it as my everyday mobile for a while, to see if it's a good phone to use on daily basis, like the GH172, and I'll post more impressions here. ;)
Very interesting phone and excellent review :-)
It is great to have the first product ever of a legendary phone manufacturer!
I'll send a mail to my russian mobile collector friend, maybe he have got users manual.
Thank you Peter! Those were just quick impressions of the phone, as I haven't checked out all its features since I don't have the manual. But if your friend has a PDF version of it, it would be an important addition to the main site.
While the handset is quite bulky and heavy (it weighs 495 grams! Nearly half a kilo! :shock: ) it feels solid and very sturdy. The chiclet keypad might be a nuisance for some, but I find it very comfortable, and since the entire keypad surface (and not only the keys) is covered in rubber, there's no risk to damage the keypad with sweat or moisture. A little drawback is the non retractable aerial, but the good thing is that's flexible, so there's no risk of breaking it when I keep it in my pocket.
If a collector wants to use this phone for daily usage, I recommend to use the short aerial, because the long one is totally impractical: it's longer than the aerial of a Dynatac!
I've got this phone brand new in box, if you need anything, let me know. do you still want the manual?
Hello Meshari! Yes, I'm still interested as I use the 9109HA as my daily mobile phone. Please can you scan it and make a PDF out of it? I hope it's in English language. :)
By the way, I'm still using the 9109HA everyday, its 21 years old NiCd batteries are still going strong. A truly wonderful handset, despite sometimes it takes a couple of minutes to find service.
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