You may have read our web page on telephone history. It wasn't until 1947 that scientists began to study the idea of cellular phones (also called mobile phones). Cellular phones are telephones that use radio wave transmissions rather than wires to make the connection between telephones. Crude mobile phones existed but were not very accurate or efficient. Scientists found that if you had small communication cells it would give a much better connection.
cellular comes from the radio transmitters called cells. Cells are
actually small radio towers that are closer together than large towers.
These cell towers are less expensive and have a better connection. They
send and receive signals to and from the phones. So, cellular phones are
actually two-way radios!
In the United States, the FCC
(Federal Communications Commision) limited the cellular phone frequencies
in 1947, so only 23 conversations could occur at the same time in the same
service area. So the scientists did not do very much research until later.
In 1977, the AT&T Bell Labs built and operated a prototype (test) modern cell phone system in Chicago, Illinois. In 1978, test began on the system. Soon after, in 1979, a cell phone system was started in Tokyo, Japan. In 1981, Motorola started another prototype system in the Washington DC/Baltimore area. Finally, in 1982, the United States had commercial cell phone service.
Customers' demand for cell phones quickly overcrowded the airwaves designed in 1982. There were over one million users in 1987. There were three ideas to give better service. One was making more phone frequencies (channels). The second idea was to split apart the phone cells to double usage. The third idea was to make the cell phone systems better. The FCC decided on the third idea.
Because companies could make their own technology, many neat, new ideas came out. Service got a lot better, and big advances in accessories were installed on phones. Now, many phones can be walkie-talkies or even cameras. The camera phones can even send pictures to someone else with a camera phone.
Cellular phones have different names in different countries. Here are some examples of what cellular phones are called in different countries:
Now you know the basics of cellular phones. I wonder what the future ones will be like!
"History Of Cell Phones." Cell Phone Carriers. 3 November 2004 <http://www.cellphonecarriers.com/cell-phone-history.html>.
Of Cellular Phones." Phone Warehouse. 3 November 2004
"Mobile Phone." Wikipedia. 5 April 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org>.
The Cell Phone." about. 3 November 2004
Copyrighted clip art of animated phones from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1> (October-March, 2004-2005). Clip art available only to licensed users for non-commercial purposes.