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BBG Communications
1658 Gailes Boulevard, San Diego, CA, 92154
Phone: 1.619.661.6661

Mobile Phone History


In December 1947, Bell Labs engineers Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young recommended hexagonal cells for mobile phones. Philip T. Porter, also of Bell Labs, proposed further that the cell towers be at the corners of the hexagons rather than at the centers and have three-directional antennas that would transmit/receive into 3 adjacent hexagon cells. But the technology did not exist yet then and there was not yet any frequency allocated. It was not until the 1960s when cellular technology was developed by Richard H. Frenkiel and Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.

The first use of radio telephony in Europe was documented to be on the first-class passenger trains in Germany between Berlin and Hamburg in 1926. At about the same time, it was also introduced on passenger airplanes for air traffic security. It was also in Germany where radio telephony was introduced on a large scale, for the use of German tanks in the Second World War. Post-war, the German police made use of unused tank telephony equipment to run the first radio patrol cars in the British zone of occupation. But the use of radio patrol cars service was limited to trained specialists on the use of the equipment. Ships on the River Rhine were among the first to use radio telephony with an untrained end customer as a user, in the early 1950s.

The MTA (Mobile Telephone system A), which was the first fully automatic mobile phone system, was developed by the Swedish company Ericsson and was commercially released in the country in 1956. It was the first system that did not need any kind of manual control, but was at the heavy side of 40 kg. A leaner upgraded version, at 9 kgs was introduced in 1965, called the MTB, which was with transistors and utilized DTMF signaling. It had 150 customers during its initial launch, up to 600 when it shut down in 1983.

In 1967, the use of a mobile phone necessitated staying within the cell site all throughout the phone call is made, which was serviced by one base station. Because of the stand-alone design of each cell site, this did not provide continuity of automatic telephone service to mobile phones moving through several cell areas. Continuity of calls while moving through several cell sites was made possible in 1970 with Amos E. Joel, Jr., another Bell Labs engineerís invention of an automatic "call handoff" system which allowed this process.

AT&T, in December 1971, submitted a proposal for cellular service to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In 1982, 11 years after AT&Tís proposal submission, the FCC gave its approval for an Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) and allocated frequencies in the 824-894 MHz band. In 1990, Analog AMPS was replaced by Digital AMPS.

But one of the first truly successful public commercial mobile phone network was Finlandís ARP network, introduced in 1971. Posthumously, ARP is sometimes classified as a zero generation (0G) cellular network, being slightly ahead of previous proprietary and limited coverage networks.

Motorolaís Dr. Martin Cooper is credited for making the first US analogue mobile phone in 1973 on a larger prototype model. One day on April 3, 1973, with wide press coverage, Dr. Cooper placed a call to Joel Engel, head of research at rival company AT&T's Bell Labs, using the first Motorola DynaTAC, while walking on the streets of New York City. Motorola has a long history of making automotive radio, especially two-way radios for taxicabs and police cruisers. Five years later, in 1978, Bell Labs launched its own first commercial cellular network in Chicago using AMPS.

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BBG Communications
1658 Gailes Boulevard
San Diego, CA, 92154
Phone: 1.619.661.6661
Email: info@bbgcomm.com
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