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Mobile Phones

History Of Mobile Phones
History Of Mobile Phones
Advantages & Disadvantages
Latest Models
Developments in Design
Dream Phones..
Handphone User Survey & Data

The Humble Beginnings...


Cellular phone is a form of wireless communication.

The reason why it is called “cellular” is because the systems make use of base stations to break up service area into many ‘cells’.

Cellular calls are transferred from one base station to another while the user moves from cell to cell.


Digital wireless and cellular roots dates back to 1940s when commercial telephone started..

The basic concept actually started in 1947 when researchers, on looking at the crude mobile (car) phones, realized that actually by using small cells and reusing the frequency, traffic capacity of  mobile phones could increase significantly. Unfortunately, technology was not that advance at that point of time.


Cell phone is in fact a two-way radio.

In 1947, AT&T projected that the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) should assign a huge amount of radio-spectrum frequency so that widespread mobile telephone service would be possible and AT&T can have the enticement to research on this new technology.


FCC was partly the blame for  the lag between the initial concept of cellular service and its availability to the people.



In 1947, FCC decided to limit the amount of frequency, allowing only twenty-three phone conversations to be possible at one time in the same service area. This definitely wasn’t a market incentive for researching.


In 1968, FCC reviewed and decided that if the technology to build a better mobile service works, they would allocate more frequency, thus freeing airways for more mobile phones.


AT&T and Bell Laboratories suggested to the FCC of having little, low-powered, broadcast towers, each covering a “cell” a few miles in radius and covering a bigger area as a whole . Each tower would use a small portion of the total frequency allocated to the system. As the phones traveled across the area, calls would be passed from tower to tower.



Dr Martin

Dr Martin Cooper, former general manager for the systems division at Motorola, was believed to be the inventor of the first modern potable handset.


Although Bell Laboratories brought in the idea of cellular communications in 1947 with the police car technology, and constructed the finest landline telephone system in the world, they didn’t seem to be truly committed to mobile telephony at all. Instead, it was Motorola who integrated technology into the portable device that was created to be used outside an automobile.


By 1977, AT&T and Bell Labs came up with a cellular system model and one year down, public trials for the new system, was conducted in Chicago with more than 2000 trial customers.

In 1979, Tokyo started her frist commercial cellular telephone system operation and two years later, Motorola and American Radio telephone conducted a second test on the US radio-telephone system in Washington.


At last in 1982, the slow-moving FCC approved commercial service for the USA, and in 1983, the first Advance Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) was made available in Chicago by Ameritech.


Regardless of the huge demand, cellular phone service took 37 years to be commercially available in the States. Consumer demand quickly exceeded the 1982 system standards, and by 1987, there were more than 1 million mobile phone subscribers, overcrowding the airways.


To improve these services, there were 3 ways: increase frequency allocation, splitting up existing cells as well as improving the technology. However, FCC refused to give any more bandwidth, and felt that building or breaking up of cells would be costly and would add load to the network. Therefore, they decided to work on improving and encouraging the growth of technology. In order to do so, in 1987, FCC announced that cellular licensees could adopt alternative cellular technologies in the 800MHz band. Research on new tramission technology as an alternative was then carried out in the cellular industry.


In 1988, the Cellular Technology Industry Association (CITA) was set up to cooperate with the service operators and researchers to single out new technology requirements and set goals. They wanted the new products and services to be launched by 1991, a 1000% increase in system capacity with both AMPS (analog) and digital capability during transmission, with messaging and fax features.



The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) made a standard specification based on what the CITA have set. Three major standards have been released since 1991. All of them are now being used in Personal Communication Services.

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