The history of cell phones: how did the cell phone come to be?
Technology

The history of cell phones: how did the cell phone come to be?

the idea of cell phones it has been around much longer than the technology to provide them. As soon as the first landline phones came into use, people had the idea to improve the convenience and flexibility of this new means of communication and bring it into new areas, such as automobiles. At first, cell phones were little more than portable two-way radios, but as technology improved, the concepts behind cell phones quickly improved.

bell labs and motorola Both were engaged in a dramatic race to see who could invent the first viable cell phones. While Bell Laboratories had installed innovative radio systems in police cars, these devices were too large for anyone to carry and therefore impractical as a true mobile phone. However, in 1973, Martin Cooper, a scientist working for Motorola, successfully made the first cell phone call using a portable phone. The age of the cell phone was finally born, and who did he call? None other than his rival at Bell Labs, Joel Engel, who had been racing him to create the invention.

Within a couple of years, both Bell and AT&T created their own prototypes and the first test areas were established. Chicago and Tokyo were the first cities in the world where a cell phone could be used, but their availability was extremely limited, and the new phones were only available to a select number of trial customers to begin with. For example, the 1979 test company in Chicago distributed cell phones to only 2,000 customers.

The idea caught on like wildfire. By 1987, there were over a million cell phone users in the US alone. It seemed as if everyone wanted a cell phone and the major companies involved had really hit a home run. However, there were difficulties. For example, in the US, the FCC regulates and allocates radio bandwidth for different purposes. Radio spectrum is limited and can become ‘crowded’, so it is necessary to control who makes use of different parts of it. The area for which they granted the license cellphones, at 800 MHz it filled up quickly. However, instead of giving more, they forced the telcos to improve technology and find more efficient ways to use the bandwidth they had. By the late 1980s this had been achieved and the era of mobile phones that we know today really kicked off. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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