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The mobile phone has been in existence for many years: here we detail the cell phone history since its inception.
Mobile phone technology has its roots embedded in ordinary mobile radio technology.
Mobile radios gained widespread use for commercial applications after the Second World War. Everything from taxis to utility organisations as well as the emergency services.
Also with landline usage growing, some thoughts turned to the possibility of the more widespread use of a telecommunications system using radio as its carrier instead of the wired landlines used for the more traditional telephone services.
Major milestones on cellphone history timeline
There are some major elements of the history of mobile phone history. Some of these major areas are given below:
- Major cellphone systems: Over the years there has been a host of different mobile phone systems. From the variety of first generation analogue systems, through the second and then third generation mobile phone systems to 4G LTE and then onto 5G, there has been a confusing number. . Read more about Major mobile phone systems on our tabulated summary.
- 2G GSM: GSM was initially called Groupe Special Mobile, but later renamed to be Global System for Mobile communications. Launched in the early 1990s it became a global standard, exceeding a billion connections by the early 2000s. Allowing roaming and many other capabilities, it outperformed other systems. . Read more about 2G GSM history
- 3G UMTS : UMTS, Universal Mobile telecommunications System used wideband CDMA and the vision was to provide mobile data. It enabled data to be used sensibly on mobile devices, although speeds were nowhere near what is needed today. Read more about 3G UMTS history.
- 4G LTE: 4G LTE was the natural successor to UMTS. After HSPA was launched, LTE using OFDM rather than DSSS / CDMA was introduced. The very first deployments were in 2008, and after full development, LTE quickly gained traction as a result of its superior speed.
- 5G: After the success of 4G LTE, new requirements started to surface for many applications from high speed very low latency to very low speed data. 5G was developed around use cases rather than a requirement for faster speed and its introduction is expected by 2020 with some early reduced sets being introduced from late 2018.
Like any technology mobile communications have developed over the years. The technology has changed very rapidly - early analogue systems launched in the early 1980s were voice only, and around 30 years later, data was the major revenue earner and highly integrated pocket sized smartphones were widely used - these were a far cry from the first analogue mobile phones that were jsut about hand portable.