Mobile phones, also known as cell phones, were handheld mobile communication devices.
Earth culture Edit
On the planet Earth, they became popular in the early 21st century. (TV: Rose, World War Three, Smith and Jones) They were crucial elements of teenagers' social lives. After realising that Martin Trueman had stolen his mobile and was now among the stars, Clyde Langer exclaimed, "I'm nobody. I'm no one! It's a social disaster." (TV: Secrets of the Stars)
When Jack Harkness rescued Rose Tyler in his ship's tractor beam, he told her that her mobile phone interfered with his instrument. Rose responded that "no one ever believes that." (TV: The Empty Child) Toby Silverman and Celeste Rivers also took the mobiles of Sarah Jane Smith, Rani Chandra and Clyde Langer, also claiming that they interfered with the equipment. (TV: The Eternity Trap) Ryan Sinclair displayed similar horror when all his online accounts were deleted when the Thirteenth Doctor reformatted his phone to track the signal linking the DNA bombs to the Gathering coil. (TV: The Woman Who Fell to Earth)
The Doctor and mobile phones Edit
The Ninth Doctor had his own cellphone on one occasion. (TV: Boom Town) The Tenth Doctor later kept another phone given to him by Martha Jones. (TV: Last of the Time Lords) The Twelfth Doctor, during his travels with Clara Oswald, began carrying a cellphone. (TV: The Zygon Invasion, Extremis)
Companions and mobile phones Edit
During her travels with the Doctor in her youth, Sarah Jane Smith was exposed to mobile phones but he refused to give her one, despite her wishes, claiming it was anachronistic. During her later years, she sardonically remarked that, despite such a claim, he had proceeded to gift her a robot dog from the year 5000. (COMIC: Vortex Butterflies)
Sarah Jane's teenage friends used mobile phones to keep in contact as well. This resulted in their phones being destroyed by their enemies on many occasions, with Sarah Jane's adoptive son, Luke Smith, having gone through seven phones alone in two years. (TV: Invasion of the Bane, Warriors of Kudlak, Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?, The Last Sontaran, The Day of the Clown, The Mark of the Berserker, The Mad Woman in the Attic, The Curse of Clyde Langer, The Man Who Never Was)
Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Donna Noble had their mobiles adjusted by the Doctor to "universal roaming"; (TV: 42) Rose by the Ninth Doctor, (TV: The End of the World) and Martha (TV: 42) and Donna (TV: The Doctor's Daughter) by the Tenth Doctor. These were called superphones. (TV: World War Three) They could call nearly anywhere in time and space (TV: The End of the World, 42) and work in areas with no service, such as the Cabinet Room. (TV: World War Three) The Tenth Doctor also modified Barclay's phone in this manner so he could communicate with UNIT. (TV: Planet of the Dead)
Later incarnations of the Doctor also similarly modified the phones of others who travelled with them:
Clara Oswald used her mobile on the Orient Express to call Danny Pink on 21st century Earth. (TV: Mummy on the Orient Express) She subsequently used it to contact the Twelfth Doctor - both audio and video calling - on numerous occasions. (TV: Dark Water, Before the Flood, et al.)
Later alternatives Edit
Upon seeing a Sontaran teleport pod in the Rattigan Academy, the Tenth Doctor told Luke Rattigan that "it might be Earth technology, but that's like finding a mobile phone in the Middle Ages", pointing out that the presence of such futuristic technology was an anachronism. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem) Missy later made a reference, saying her fights with the Doctor were "basically texting." (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
Behind the scenes Edit
Once treated in the series as a major event akin to being entrusted with a TARDIS key (Rose Tyler, Martha Jones), the upgrading of a companion's phone to superphone status is now often taken as a given in BBC Wales Doctor Who; the evident upgrading of Clara's phone, for example, has never been depicted on screen.