• The First Mobile Phone

The first hand held mobile phone to become commercially available was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, which received approval in 1983. Mobile phones began to proliferate through the 1980s with the introduction of "cellular" phones based on cellular networks with multiple base stations located relatively close to each other, and protocols for the automated "handover" between two cells when a phone moved from one cell to the other. At this time analog transmission was in use in all systems. Mobile phones were somewhat larger than current ones, and at first, all were designed for permanent installation in cars (hence the term car phone). In Switzerland, the name for the car phone models was "Nationales Autotelefon", and the abbreviation of it ("Natel") persists as the common designation for mobile phones. Soon, some of these bulky units were converted for use as "transportable" phones the size of a briefcase. Motorola introduced the first truly portable, hand held phone. These systems (NMT, AMPS, TACS, RTMI, C-Netz, and Radiocom 2000) later became known as first generation (1G) mobile phones.

In September 1981 the first cell phone network with automatic roaming was started in Saudi Arabia; it was an NMT system manufactured by Svenska Radio Aktiebolaget (SRA). One month later the Nordic countries started an NMT network with automatic roaming between countries.

 Second Generation Mobile Phones

In the 1990s, second generation (2G) mobile phone systems such as GSM, IS-136 ("TDMA"), iDEN and IS-95 ("CDMA") began to be introduced. The first digital cellular phone call was made in the United States in 1990, in 1991 the first GSM network opened in Europe. 2G phone systems were characterized by digital circuit switched transmission and the introduction of advanced and fast phone to network signaling. In general the frequencies used by 2G systems in Europe were higher though with some overlap, for example the 900 MHz frequency range was used for both 1G and 2G systems in Europe and so such 1G systems were rapidly closed down to make space for 2G systems. In America the IS-54 standard was deployed in the same band as AMPS and displaced some of the existing analog channels.

Coinciding with the introduction of 2G systems was a trend away from the larger "brick" phones toward tiny 100–200g hand-held devices, which soon became the norm. This change was possible through technological improvements such as more advanced batteries and more energy-efficient electronics, but also was largely related to the higher density of cellular sites caused by increasing usage levels.

 

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