History of the Mobile Phone

  • Reginald Fessenden

    Reginald Fessenden
    Fessenden was a Canadian inventor who was a pioneer in radio transmission. In 1900 he was hired by the US Weather Bureau to research the feasibility of a network of coastal radio stations to transmit weather information. This would replace the telegraph. The first successful transmission was over a distance of about one mile. Althought the sound was very distorted, this showed it was possible to use radio to transmit audio.
  • Predictions for 1907

    In 1907, the English caricaturist Lewis Baumer published a cartoon in Punch magazine entitled "Predictions for 1907" in which he showed a man and a woman in London's Hyde Park dating on wireless telephones.
  • Albert Jahnke Wireless Telephone

    In 1908 Professor Albert Jahnke and the Oakland Transcontinental Aerial Telephone and Power Company claimed to have developed a wireless telephone. They were accused of fraud, but the charges were dropped. It does not seem to have ever been produced.
  • German Railroad System

    1918 the German railroad system tested wireless telephones on military trains between Berlin and Zossen.
  • Karl Arnold Cartoon

    Karl Arnold Cartoon
    Artist Karl Arnold created a cartoon about the use of mobile phones in the street. It was published in the German satirical magazine Simplicissimus.
  • World War II and the 1940s

    The Second World War made military use of hand-held radio transceivers. Mobile telephones for automobiles became available from some telephone companies in the 1940s. Early devices were bulky and consumed high power. The network supported only a few simultaneous conversations.
  • Bell Labs

    Bell Labs
    In the United States, engineers from Bell Labs began work on a system to allow mobile users to place and receive telephone calls from automobiles, leading to the inauguration of mobile service in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • AT&T

    AT&T introduced Mobile Telephone Service to one hundred towns and highway corridors by 1948. Mobile Telephone Service was a rarity with only 5,000 customers placing about 30 000 calls each week. Calls were set up manually by an operator and the user had to depress a button on the handset to talk and release the button to listen.
  • Bulgarian Innovations

    In 1965, Bulgarian company "Radioelektronika" presented in Moscow the mobile automatic phone combined with a base station. One base station, connected to one telephone wire line, could serve up to 15 customers.
  • Amos Joel

    Amos Joel
    In 1970 Amos E. Joel, Jr., a Bell Labs engineer, invented a "three-sided trunk circuit" to aid in the "call handoff" process from one cell to another. His patent contained an early description of the Bell Labs cellular concept, but as multi-directional antennas became prominent, switching systems became unnecesssary.
  • Hand Held Mobile Phones

    Hand Held Mobile Phones
    Prior to 1973, mobile telephony was limited to phones installed in vehicles. Motorola was the first company to produce a handheld mobile phone when Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher and executive, made the first mobile telephone call to Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs. The handheld phone weighed 1.1 kg and took 10 hours to charge.
  • Analog Cellular Systems

    The automatic analog cellular system was first used in Tokyo in 1979, later spreading to the rest of Japan by 1981. The first analog system in North America was introduced in October of 1983. It was a pioneering technology but it was not secure and was shut down completely by 2008.
  • The First Flip Phone

    The First Flip Phone
    The Motorola MicroTAC introduced an innovative new "flip" design, where the mouthpiece folded over the keypad.
  • Digital Mobile Service

    Digital Mobile Service
    In the 1990s, the 'second generation' mobile phone systems emerged. These differed from the previous generation by using digital instead of analog transmission, Two systems competed for supremacy in Europe and the US. This caused an explosive rise in mobile phone usage and prompted the advent of prepaid mobile phones.
  • Text Messaging

    Text Messaging
    The second generation introduced a new variant of communication called SMS or text messaging. The first machine-generated SMS message was sent in the UK on 3 December 1992. Prepaid services in the late 1990s soon made SMS the communication method of choice amongst the young, a trend which spread across all ages.
  • IBM Simon

    IBM Simon
    In 1993, IBM Simon was introduced. This was possibly the world's first smartphone. It was a mobile phone, pager, fax machine, and PDA all rolled into one. It included a calendar, address book, clock, calculator, notepad, email, and a touchscreen with a QWERTY keyboard. This was a smaller device with a longer battery life.
  • Downloadable Content

    In 1998 the first downloadable content sold to mobile phones was the ring tone, launched by Finland's Radiolija.. Advertising on the mobile phone first appeared in Finland when a free daily SMS news headline service was launched in 2000, sponsored by advertising.
  • Satellite Phone Service

    he Inmarsat satellite telephone system, originally developed in 1979 for safety of life at sea, is now also useful for areas out of reach of landline, conventional cellular, or marine VHF radio stations. In 1998 the Iridium satellite system was set up.
  • 3G Broadband

    As the use of 2G phones became more widespread it became clear that demand for data (such as access to browse the internet) was growing, as well as greater data speeds. The main technological difference between 2G and 3G is the use of packet switching, rather than circuit switching, for data transmision.
  • Embeded Wireless Internet/SIM Card

    By the end of 2007, there were 295 million subscribers on 3G networks worldwide, which reflected 9% of the total worldwide subscriber base. Although mobile phones had long had the ability to access data networks such as the Internet, it was not until the widespread availability of good quality 3G coverage in the mid-2000s that specialized devices appeared to access the mobile internet. Computer manufacturers started to embed the mobile data function directly into the phone with a SIM Card.
  • 4G

    Overwhelmed by the growth of bandwidth-intensive applications like streaming media, the industry began looking to data-optimized 4th-generation technologies, improving speed up to 10-fold over existing 3G technologies. Sprint and LTE were the first to introduce this in America. Circuit switching was eliminated, using an all IP network. One of the main ways in which 4G differed technologic