Ineke Botter - Your Phone My Life - Adventure book

Your Phone, My Life

Your phone, my life: or, how did that phone land in your hand’ - is the story and adventure of how the world built its mobile networks over the past 30 years.


Author Ineke Botter

Ms. Ineke Botter was born in The Netherlands and studied corporate and international law at the University of Amsterdam.

Ms. Botter started her career in the finance industry from 1984 – 1990 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and the City of London, United Kingdom.

Ineke Botter then switched to the mobile telecommunications industry from 1991 and held senior management (CxO, CEO and BoD level) positions in Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Kosovo, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Haiti and currently East Africa.

Ineke Botter and her teams have received many awards; from the best CSR, best branding, best technology programmes to recognitions from the UN for the work she and her team did for the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri. She also received a personal award as Best International Manager whilst working in Azerbaijan.

There are currently less than 1000 mobile networks globally and Ms. Botter was one of the very few female CEOs in the mobile industry. She is also the first one who gives us an insight in this unknown world where so many stakeholders have enormous, vested interests. Her job especially in very challenging countries was to make sure that ‘all noses are pointed the same direction’.

Book Synopsis:

‘Your phone, my life: or, how did that phone land in your land’ –  is the story and adventure of how the world built its mobile networks over the past 30 years.

The authors’ journey started in the USSR, Ukraine, where she, as part of a team, negotiated with the Minister of Telecommunications of a country with virtually no telecom infrastructure.

She was there when Ukraine became independent in December 1991. From Kiev her work took her first to other countries in the former Eastern Block and then to Western Europe, Kosovo, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and Haiti where she was the CEO in charge of mobile network operations managing through periods of political unrest, war, bomb attacks and other serious obstacles.

Looking back, she says ‘I’m happy our efforts made that people are able to stay in touch, no matter what’.

Today, the mobile telecommunications industry provides 10 billion connections, is contributing almost 5% to the global GDP, provides well over 30 million jobs and pays US$ 500 billion in taxes worldwide. It enables the famous tech companies to exist and virtually everyone in the world to work, even in Covid 19 times.

This is ‘Your phone, my life’.

All figures are from 2021


RussellA fascinating personal account of the mobile revolution
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Well done Ineke for writing this personal account of what it was like to drive the mobile industry through its period of major growth globally. The book is a view mainly from the top (Ineke served as CEO of many mobile operators), but with a focus on the human aspects of management and the importance and impact of mobile comms on developing economies. Ineke has worked in many challenging situations, in hostile and sometimes dangerous environments, and these tales are the most fascinating part of the book. As someone who also worked in the industry over the same period - including a brief period working with Ineke on one of the projects described in the book - I really enjoyed reading about Ineke's personal experiences in this work. When we started out, almost nobody had a mobile phone. Now almost everyone has one. I think that's quite an achievement, and a story that is worth telling!
Margaret SYour phone, my life. Thoroughly readable and interesting book
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Ineke Botter weaves a story round her own life and round the mobile phone industry. Her book is easy to read and the stories she tells are well written and her life is easy to follow. This book explains a great deal about the mobile phone industry and how it was set up, most of which few people outside the industry would know or appreciate. However, even more interesting is the life of someone working in the countries she has. Most of us think of foreign countries as places to enjoy on a holiday. We do not know how difficult life can be for expatriates, especially a woman at the top of her industry. Her stories of Kosovo, Lebanon and Azerbaijan are fascinating, and frightening. Colleagues and friends are what makes life possible for her in the countries she has worked in. One sees how it would be obviously difficult to adjust to a normal life after living the sort of life she has. For anyone, especially a woman, contemplating working as an expatriate, this is a good, even maybe, essential read. The mobile phone industry is developing so fast, things may have changed, but as an introduction to how it was built, this book is a very good introduction.
DR R.A great read, linking a single professional life to a global phenomenon
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This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, which should be of interest to anyone connected with, or interested in, the mobile phone revolution. But it should also resonate with anyone who has dedicated themselves passionately to a professional career in business, with its sacrifices and rewards. The author shares real stories from an amazingly wide range of business cultures across the world, related in a direct style, peppered with humour and irony, and introducing many interesting characters. In the book, Ineke Botter weaves her own professional odyssey with the world-changing roll-out of cellular networks, linking a single life to a global movement in a way I’ve never seen done before. It made me reflect on my own working life and how that has been played out against the trends of the age.
Gavin JefferyAbsorbing tale of a rare life
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This is a personal history of the background to the creation of the global mobile networks that, by now, we probably all take for granted! Ineke tells a rare story with ease - what a thoroughly absorbing account of the realities behind the headlines. I would recommend reading this book to anyone who uses a mobile telephone.
Liesbeth Ineke Botter recounting her many many bold adventures as C-suite executive in the telecom industry
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Ineke would be my dream passenger to sit next to on a flight to a far away destination. She is an incredibly gifted storyteller who lifts the tip of the veil in her book "Your phone, my life" behind how she built and expanded mobile telecom networks in Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean. What an adventurous life Ineke had doing so. I found it hard to put down the book and read it straight through. I believe she has many more stories to tell and I cannot wait to hear from her or to see her remarkable experiences in a series on a streaming service. She recounts the hilarious and challenging times, the companionships and sometimes feuds, the stress and the politics with panache and at a rapid pace. I really love how Ineke interweaves the business with the personal. Ineke Botter describes and decodes how she thought, led, and got things done as an intrepid international businesswoman in this very important and must read book.
Justin RaphaelHighly recommended!
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This book is an enjoyable journey into many cultures and countries where the author had lived and worked. Even though the heart of the story is the birth of mobile technology it is still accessible to any reader. The author cleverly keeps an entertaining balance between the history of the mobile, her personal life, her career and the socio political times she participated in. Highly recommended read. Informative and entertaining!
Dirk M.Highly recommeded reading to understand international business challenges.
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A chain of adventures, following the global rise of the mobile industry and the challenges of very diverse international business cultures, combined with a personal story. Very interesting to read. Eye opening. Well done!
Paul L.
Well worth a read for those in the telco industry
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An interesting read and a must for those with a keen interest in the telecoms industry. Would definitely recommend this.
Liesbeth NL
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She is an incredibly gifted storyteller who lifts the tip of the veil in her book
Cathryn P.
For anyone working in mobile communications, this is a brilliant origin story
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I loved this book. I worked in the mobile telecom industry from the early 90s to the mid 2010s and this is the first time I've seen anyone describe the origins and history of what is still a fledgling industry. Hearing the author describe her involvement in the first network licence auctions reminded me so much of my early career and made me realise what a vital piece of social history this is - how much influence it’s had over society and human behaviour. We need more memoirs like this!

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