The history and the development of mobile phones and mobile phone networks.

The history and the development of mobile phones and mobile phone networks.


When where mobile phones first invented and used?
Before cellular phones existed there where several mobile solutions available for example Push to Talk(PTT) Mobile Telephone System(MTS) and Advanced Mobile Telephone Service(AMTS) to name a few. The …As far back as the late 1930’s Radiophones where a very important and vital means of mobile communication for the armed forces.

When Analogue mobile phones where first launched they quickly became known as cellphones because they allowed the mobile phone user to travel between cell sites. This technology transformed the distance over which calls could be made in fact as long as there was no gap in the area covered by the cells distance was no object. The passing of the mobile phone call from one cell to the next was called handover.

Motorola the american corporation is widely believed to be the first manufacturer in the world to produce portable mobile phones that did not rely on a motor vehicle for its power. The first mobile phone call to be made on a portable phone was early in the 1970’s.

Because of the size of both the first mobile phones and their batteries they where installed in motor vehicles and where referred to as ‘car phones’Norway was the first country in Europe to have a manual mobile telephone sytem and Finland was the first to launch a public mobile telephone network.

Motorola dominated the world in the early days of the mobile phone industry but soon after Nokia started to challenge them. There was an English company manufacturing a very popular portable mobile phone called a Technophone, Nokia bought the company, restyled the handset and called it the Nokia 101. It was a huge success and Nokia continued to grow from strength to strength and now remarkably they are the worlds largest mobile phone manufacturer with a world market share of over 35%.

When did mobile phones enter the consumer market place?Once the strong far Eastern manufacturers saw how rapidly mobile phone usage was growing and being taken up by the consumer as well as being a ‘must have’ business tool, they� lost no time in mounting a serious challenge including such manufacturers as Sony Ericcson, Sharp, LG. Panasonic, Samsung, NEC and many moreIn the early days of mobile usage in the UK there were only two networks, Cellnet, owned and operated by BT and Vodafone which at that time was a subsidiary of Racal. Cellnet was by far the most dominant and they where the first to recognise the need and demand for lower priced consumer friendly tarriffs. At first the monthly line rentals for using mobile phones were very expensive and did not include any mobile calls. Cellnet changed the face of the industry when they launched ‘low user tarriffs’ which included an amount of either peak or off peak mobile phone calls to either a BT landline or another Cellnet mobile phone number..

The third mobile phone network to be launched in the UK had a very unusual name for it’s brand. ‘Orange’ it was called and it was to create a place in the marketing history books for the person responsible, Hans Snook.

The fourth mobile phone network to join the fray was called One 2 One, in its early days the coverage of the network was concentrated in London and was rolled out into the major cities. To gain market share One 2 One concentrated on the growing Pay as You Go market place often referred to as Pre-Pay.

The fifth mobile phone network to launch in the UK was Huchinson and they called their mobile phone network ‘3’ the strategy behind this name was to promote themselves as the first network to offer �3G mobile phones operating on a 3G network which finally gave mobile phone users access to an array of multi media services.

Not known for missing out on opportunities, Richard Branson was the first to launch a ‘virtual’ mobile phone network. Mr Branson struck a deal with One 2 One to allow Virgin mobile phone users to access their network but all contact with the customer and all branding was by Virgin mobile. Thus today because of the power of the Virgin brand many people believe that Virgin has its own mobile phone network.

There are now more mobile phones in use than landlinesNow that the number of mobile phones in use has overtaken the number of landlines the whole culture of communication has changed and in fact in some people’s opinions mobile phones have become a public menace often ringing in churches, theatres disturbing worshippers and audiences with a multitude of strident ringtones. Some buildings are now being constructed with wire.

Now that the Pay as you go / pre pay services are available to the emerging nations, countries such as Africa, India and Brazil are seeing exponential growth. India is seeing the largest growth in the use of mobile phones, a staggering 6 million per month are being sold. It is forcasted that Chine will have over four hundred million users of mobile phones, smartphones or mobile pda type devices by 2015.

The amount of text messages that are sent from mobile phones has now reached a staggering level and increasingly the youth market are customizing their mobile phones with accessories and personalizing their ringtones from the vast array that are available. There is no doubt that the mobile phone has now become a fashion item.

For many years it has been strictly prohibited to use a mobile phone or any form of a mobile device that is reliant on radio waves for fear of interfearing with the aeroplanes systems, now several airlines including United Emirates will allow the use of mobile phones in certain conditions and it looks certain that other airlines will follow suit.

In the Asian regions because of the vast penetration of mobile users into the population text messaging is being used by the authorities to give advanced warning of earthquakes and such impending disasters. When there has been an earthquake when recuers are searching for survivors the signal transmitted by a mobile phone can be picked up and located by the rescuers. The benefits and diverse usages that mobile phones can be put to just keeps growing and growing.

Areas of concern to do with the use of mobile phonesOne area that has met with much consternation is the use of mobile phones whilst driving or being in control of a motor vehicle. In most countries now and certainly in the United States and the UK there are strict laws and penalties in place to punish drivers for driving whilst using a mobile phone. Many people have been killed or seriously injured when they have been involved in an accident caused by a driver using a mobile phone whilst driving. It is obviously impossible to give complete concentration whilst doing so.

An area of concern that causes great debate is whether or not here is a health hazard attached to the use of mobile phones especially when used by young children. As at now there does not appear to be a conclusive judgement that using a mobile phone causes any harm.

Another area of concern is the siting of the cell sites that mobile phones need to gain access to the mobile phone networks. Again worrying about the effect of radiation on young children parents and campaigners do not want the masts to be ereted near to schools parks etc.

How have mobile phone manufacturers been able to make mobile phones so small?The development of mobile phones has been greatly improved since the battery technology has allowed the manufacture of smaller and more powerfull batteries. In the early days mobile phones such as the Motorola transportable needed a shoulder strap to help the mobile phone user carry it. Now most of the mobile phone manufacturers use Lithium-Polymer batteries which allow them to be very small, very low in wieght and they are not restricted to the shape of the battery.

Since the early 1990’s researchers have realised the potential of incorporating other devices into mobile phones. The camera was recognised as a very beneficial device to include. The first patent was filed as far back as 1994 by AT&T and it is claimed that the first mobile camera phone was invented in 1997 by Phillipe Kahn. By 2007 85% of mobile phones manufactured had a camera included and they are now referred to as camera phones.

T-Mobile in the UK have been in the for front of bringing internet access and instant e-mail to mobile phones. In 2005 they introduced a very inavative tarriff called web ‘n’ walk which could be added to a monthly mobile phone tarriff at a very affordable charge at a similar time via their close relationship with Blackberry (not the fruit) but RIM (Research in Motion) once again the wonderfull Blackberry instant e-mail facility can be added to a monthly mobile phone� tarriff at a very affordable charge. Ther networks such as Vodafone, Orange, 02 and Huchison ‘3’ are now making similar offerings.

Reading the above two paragraphs you can see that now in one mobile device users can have access to a mobile phone, text messaging, a camera, mobile access to the internet and instant e-mail, anywhere in the world whilst on the move.


Chris Brodie
A developer since 1990 and a internet and ecommerce consultant since 1994, I have years of both technical and commercial experience to help maximise profits from corporate websites. My Ecommerce Consultancy clients range from large blue chip companies to sites simply in the planning stages. I'm based in Lancashire, England but my client base is International.


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