IELTS® Listening Practice 77

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Listening Script Vocabulary

(Section 3: You will hear a conversation between two students who are talking about their school presentations. First, you will have some time to look at questions 21 to 24 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 21 to 24.)



J: Hi, Marita. Have you finished your presentation yet?

M: Hi Jake. Yep, I've just finished it actually.

J: Good for you. I haven't started yet. I'm still waiting for some books I ordered to arrive from the library. What subject did you choose?

M: Well, I ended up settling on the history of mobile communication technology. Basically, mobile phones and how they've developed over the years.

J: (surprised) Really? Mobile phones?

M: Yes, it's really interesting.

J: (sarcastically) Hmm, sounds fascinating!

M: Actually, it's not as boring as you might be thinking. Although most of us feel like we couldn't live without our mobile phones, they've not really been in existence for very long. 

In fact, mobile phones as we know them today have only been around in the last 20 years

J: Hmm, I couldn't live without my smartphone. I use it for everything.

M: Well, smartphones are relatively new, of course, although they are our inseparable friends or companions today. But the history of mobile phones goes back to 1908 when a US patent was issued in Kentucky for a wireless telephone. Mobile phones were invented as early as the 1940s when engineers developed cells for mobile phone base stations.

J: Oh really? I didn't know that. But I suppose they didn't look anything like the mobile phones we use today?

M: No, of course not. The very first mobile phones were not really phones at all. They were two-way radios that allowed people like taxi drivers and the emergency services to communicate. Instead of relying on base stations with separate cells (and the signal being passed from one cell to another), the first mobile phone networks involved one very powerful base station covering a much wider area.

J: Hang on. You're not going to tell me the entire history of mobile phones now, are you?

M: Well, if you have time, it would be good practice for me. I always get nervous doing presentations and my tutor said I should practise. 

J: OK, fine. When was the first proper mobile phone made? 

(Before you hear the rest of the conversation, you will have some time to look at questions 25 to 30 [20 seconds]. Now, listen and answer questions 25 to 30.)

M: When was the first mobile phone made? Well, according to my research, Motorola were the first company to mass produce a handheld mobile phone in 1973.

J: So early?

M: Yes, but it weighed over 1kg!

J: Hmm, that's not exactly portable. What about text messages? When did they start? 

M: In 1992. The world's first ever SMS message was sent in the UK and read “Merry Christmas”. It was sent to a director at Vodafone, who was enjoying a Christmas party.

J: But when did ordinary people start using mobiles? 

M: Well, in the UK phone ownership stood at 16% of households in 1996. A decade later that figure was 80%. The explosion in growth was in part driven by the launch of the first pay-as-you-go, non-contract phone service.

J: I see. So, people were attracted by the pay-as-you-go option?

M: Right, it seems so. Plus, users were soon able to download content to their mobile phones. For example, ringtones and later music and emojis. Phones also became much cheaper. In 1998, for example, you could pick up a mobile phone for just under £40 from a supermarket.

J: My first mobile was a BlackBerry. 

M: Yes! They were very popular. They were seen as the ultimate business tool, allowing users to read and respond to emails from anywhere. I read that 83% of users admitted to reading and responding to work emails while on holiday, and over half admitted to sending emails while on the toilet!

J: They seem so old-fashioned already.

M: Exactly. Mobile phones have changed so fast. Now we consider cameras, apps and touch screens to be standard.

J: Well, thanks for all the information. I'm sure your presentation will go well. You seem to have done lots of research.

M: I have. I just need to keep calm for my presentation… 

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