First of all, I found a great site, with history of the mobile phone
since the beginning: Connected Earth (a BT site),
According to this site, the origins of the mobile are much deeper than
the invention of the first mobile phone by Martin Cooper: actually,
already in the 1920s, people began to think about it. Like many other
inventions - it began in the military: there were radio-operated
phones ships, aircraft and military vehicles.
BT - Connected Earth, "The origins of mobile: when wireless met
More about the beginning of the communication age could be read in
Timothy J. Sturgeon's "How Silicon Valley Came to Be" (Ch. 1 of
"Understanding Silicon Valley: Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region".
Martin Kenney, ed. Stanford University Press, 2000)
<http://ipc-lis.mit.edu/globalization/Silicon%20Valley.pdf> (a PDF
document, you have to open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader).
In 1921, the first car-mobile radio was used by the Detroit police
department. Later on, it became a standard, and after the Second World
War (1939-1945) it was used by police stations and later (1947) also
commercial taxi-stations (first one in Cambridge, 1947).
Connected Earth, "Early car phones (1940s): 'car one calling
The technology that would enable mobile phones was already possible in
1947, developed by Bell, but the American Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) hindered the process, limiting the number of
frequencies allocated to mobile phones to enable only 23 talks at the
Connected Earth <http://www.connected-earth.com/Journeys/Frombuttonstobytes/Mobilephones/Theoriginsofmobile/Cellularphonesareproposed/cellularphonesareproposed(1947).htm>.
Bell and AT&T understood, that "by using small cells (range of service
area) with frequency reuse they could increase the traffic capacity of
mobile phones substantially." (SOURCE: Mary Bellis, "Selling The Cell
Phone - Part 1: History of Cellular Phones."
Because of the FCC regulations, it took more than two decades until
the policy has been changed and the importance of mobile communication
was acknowledged. (Connected Earth, "Encouraging mobile phone research
(1968): opening up the airwaves",
In 1968, several major technology companies, not only Bell and AT&T,
were attempting to develop a mobile phone solution and a race began.
In April 3, 1972 a man came out of the Hilton hotel in Manhattan and
started walking the sidewalk. He stopped, raised his hand with some
strange "brick" in it, put it to the ear and started talking with it"
(SOURCE: "The first mobile phone", 2003.11.09, ZFone,
<http://www.zfone.com/articles.php/a_id/36>). Martin Cooper from
Motorola called the rival at Bell, and asked them "Guess where I am
calling from?" (Connected Earth, "First mobile phone call (1973) : 'Hi
Joel - guess where I'm calling from?'"
In February 1973, Motorola introduced Motorola DynaTAC, the first
mobile, to the FCC, hoping to receive funding.
Read an interview with Martin Cooper about these early, exciting,
days: Nate Orenstam, "Doctor Cellphone", Valley of the Geeks.com,
Sunday, June 01, 2003
By 1982 the FCC approved at last and after presidential pressure, the
introduction of cellular phones to the American market.
(SOURCE: Connected Earth, "Testing mobile phone services (1977) : ...
but would it work?" <http://www.connected-earth.com/Journeys/Frombuttonstobytes/Mobilephones/Theoriginsofmobile/Testingmobilephoneservices/testingmobilephoneservices(1977).htm>)
In the meanwhile, in the UK, radiopagers were the main means of
communications since 1973. "The first system was introduced in 1973,
covering the Thames Valley. It was extended to London in 1976. By the
end of the 1970s, most of Britain was covered by several networks."
(Connected Earth, "Radiopagers (1973) : pagers - half way there"
Another development was Phonepoint - a combination of regular phone
and cell phone - introduced in the UK in the late 1980s. (Connected
The first "real" cell-phone was introduced in Japan in 1979. "It
wasn't until 1983 - nearly four years later - that Ameritech opened a
similar service in Chicago, using Bell's Advanced Mobile Phone System
It would be a further two years before cellular mobile phones reached
the UK." (SOURCE: Connected Earth, First Commercial Mobile Phones,
(Connected earth on the introduction of phones to the UK, in 1985,
"Mobile services arrive in the UK (1985) : launching mobile in
The phones were heavy, expensive (the first Motorola hand portable
mobile retailing at almost £3,000 and line rental around £30 per
month, with calls costing 25p per minute, according to Connected
and demanded much energy and batteries. It also didn't cover much at
the beginning - only centres of big cities like London, Tokyo or New
York. Later, the British government (as well as other governments)
demanded that cellular phone providers would be able to cover much of
the population, and coverage grew rapidly. Today 99% of the British
population is covered by cell-phones (the population, but not the
land) (SOURCE: Connected Earth, "Expanding the Networks"
By the 1990s, phones became more affordable, and smaller in size,
which created growth in the demand. "The battery is the most obvious
change - today's lithium ion power packs are about one fifth the size
and weight of the huge nickel cadmium batteries of the mid 1980s,
provide four times the life and are not nearly so fussy about how and
when they're recharged" and the technologies, too, are not that "power
hungry" (SOURCE: Connected Earth, "How phones have shrunk : smaller
and smarter" <http://www.connected-earth.com/Journeys/Frombuttonstobytes/Mobilephones/Buildingthenetworks/Howphoneshaveshrunk/howphoneshaveshrunk.htm>).
GSM technologies developed and became more available to the general
public, and the tariffs have fallen from several thousand pounds in
1985, to only a dozen today. However, this is not the end of it. This
also changed the target audience - from businessman in the first
decade, to everyone today, from children to adults. Mobile phones are
still developed and enhanced. For example, just lately, a mobile phone
designed for the blind was introduced in the UK (SOURCE: Geoff
Adams-Spink, "UK debut for 'blind' mobile", BBC News,
Very good international and UK statistics could be found on page 6 of
"GROWTH AND INNOVATION POLICIES FOR A KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY: EXPERIENCES
FROM FINLAND, SWEDEN, AND SINGAPORE" by Magnus Blomström, Ari Kokko,
and Fredrik Sjöholm, Working Paper 156, October 2002,
<http://www.hhs.se/eijs/wp/156.pdf>. The rest of the paper is also
very interesting for someone writing about the history of mobile
More statistics and timeline, as well as a discussion regarding the
health-implications of mobile phone usage in the UK could be found at
BBC's Hot-Topic, "Mobile Phone Safety",
Tom Farley "Private line's Mobile Phone History",
History of Cellular Phones, Affordable Phones Website,
History - Cell Phones, Digital America 2003, The U.S. Consumer
"A Very Long Distance - Mobile telephony was once considered a niche
market", Trailing Edge, May 2001,
"Mobile Phones - A History", GalaxyPhones,
<http://www.galaxyphones.co.uk/mobile_phones_history01.asp> - a very
long and interesting article on the subject. A must-read.
Names of people/years with the words "mobile phones" or "cell phones".
I hope this answered your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarification on this answer before you rate it.