Math   Science   Chemistry   Economics   Biology   News   Search

> The history of mobile phone Issue: 2012-1 Section: 14-16



The history of mobile phone


Gabriele Trovato


This article presents the origin of mobile phone, very useful nowadays as they allow you to exchange messages quickly and to communicate easily with the entire world. The mobile phone is among the most used objects in the world, thanks to the ensuring of instant communication and the various functions they have.


The mobile phone story is very interesting and began with Michael Faraday, a Chemist, who in 1843 began research on the possibility of transmitting electricity through space and in 1865 Loomis Mahlon, showed that it was possible to transmit electricity through the earth's atmosphere, using two kites with screens and copper wires that were placed on the ground at a distance of 18 km. This discovery was used in Detroit, in 1921. The police department installed on police’s cars some mobile radios that operated at 2 MHz, but there were many interferences and malfunctions, so the system did not work very well but in 1934, thinking about a possible solution, U.S. Congress created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that decided who could use radio frequencies most of which were reserved for the government and for the emergency services. Afterwards, in 1940, mobiles were upgraded to 40 MHz and some companies began to use them for profit. After five years at St. Louis, born the first system of cellular-radio telephone service was born, with six channels operating at 150 MHz. This project was approved but there were many interferences and this didn’t work well. So, in 1947 AT&T proposed at FCC to increased radio frequencies but the requests were not satisfied. Then AT&T made the first radiotelephones for cars, also called push to talk telephone, used only between New York and Boston, operating until 44 MHz, but there were again many interferences and the project was considered a failure. In 1949 some companies appeared, authorized by FCC to use radio channels and these companies were called RCC (radio common companies). After some years, in Sweden and then in USA similar systems appeared. But these still had “push to talk” system and were very big. In 1964a system operating at 150 MHz was created without the “push to talk”, five years later it was increased to 450 MHz and in 1968 the FCC increased the radio frequencies. To encourage call by car, the AT&T proposed at FCC a system with a transmission tower at low power that would cover determined areas and that would have used some frequencies. Then AT&T proposed at FCC to divide the city in cells.

Dr. Martin Cooper, during the work for Motorola, makes the first mobile phone, the DynaTAC and the phone became very popular and it weighed 2,2 pounds. On 3 April 1973, at New York, Martin Cooper showed it to the public and he made the first call using a mobile phone. He let some people of the public try the phone, to prove that it wasn’t a prank. Since then the FCC began to encourage the telephone companies, but in 1974 there was a lawsuit against the Western Electric, that was closest to do it. This law has been done to avoid the monopoly of the company; otherwise it creates the block of activity. Some years later, AT&T ruled its plan for mobile phones at Chicago and in 1977, the FCC allowed both Bell Telephone and AT&T to perform tests on the mobile phone service at Chicago.

The first mobile phone service began to operate at Tokyo, in 1979 but in 1981, Motorola and American Radio began the test for a second and American mobile phone service, in the area of Washington-Baltimore. In 1982, the FCC allowed the use of the AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service), at Chicago to Ameritech and in 1987, there were a million of mobile phones in circulation and because there were so many, there were interference and then the frequency needed to be raised, cells were split into smaller cells and the technology was improved. FCC didn't want to increase the frequencies and split cells would cost too much, and therefore they tried of stimulate the growth of new technologies and they proposed the use of alternative technologies covered in the 800 MHz. A year later the Cellular Industry Association Technology was born, that contributed to the creation of the TDMA technology( Time Division Multiple Access), available to the public since 1991.

After this date, the evolution of mobile phone continued with new technologies as GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) that increased until the 1800 MHz, EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) and three times in terms of data transmission speed, GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) that permitted the aggregation of multiple operators and the increase of internet speed, LTE (Long Term Evolution) that reinforcement UTRA(Terrestrial Radio Universal Access) and MIMO(Multiple Input/Multiple Output), the 3G and its technology WCDMA and then HSPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) lead to 3G – the quick use at large band and the support of the vocal services. But after about 170 years, the history of this object hasn't finished yet, because the new mobile technologies are evolving, one of this is the 4G, now under testing. This article aimed to present the beginnings of mobile phones and their evolution. Although they nowadays seem to be common objects, the process of their design and production is complex and so was their evolution.



  • (University of Florida)
  • (motorola)
  • (George Mason University)