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We have all seen and used cell phones. However we have probably taken the technology for granted. The cellular telephone has evolved and improved a lot over the years. Before we get into the history let us first get the definition for 'cellular'. It's called cellular because the system uses many base stations to divide a service area into multiple 'cells' (1). Each base station consists of a tower and at the base is the equipment to send and receive signals. Now that it cleared up we will look back into the history.
To find the first "cell phone" in history we look back to 1928. In 1928 the Detroit Michigan Police Department made the earliest significant use Mobile radio in a vehicle in the United States. The system operated at a frequency close to 2 MHz. The channels soon became overcrowded (3). This seems like a small and weak signal but at the time it was evolutionary. Nothing like this had ever been done before. It also seems like a crude method but it was just the beginning.
The police, different companies, and public agencies were the only ones that got to use the mobile technology, but in 1945 the technology was made for public use. The mobile equipment was not sophisticated enough to prevent interference (3). The concept of using small cells wasn't looked at until 1947. Research found that this would increase the traffic capacity of mobile phones, however the technology didn't exist at that time (1). Also in 1947 AT&T tried to get the FCC to put aside a large band of radio-spectrum frequencies so that widespread mobile telephone service would become feasible (1). The FCC didn't like the idea and didn't back the technology at the time and limited the amount of frequencies.
Twenty-one years later, in 1968, the FCC reconsidered AT&T's offer. They stated that, "if the technology to build a better mobile service works, we will increase the frequency allocation, freeing the airwaves for more mobile phones" (1). This is when AT&T and Bell Labs proposed the first idea of 'cells'. There would be many low frequency towers and calls would be passed from tower to tower as phones traveled across the area. Until this time, we have to realize that cell phone research was not a major or popular area. It was probably seen as a worthless study that wouldn't amount to much if anything.
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"The Cell Phone Invention." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Jul 2019
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The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) created a standard specification based on the requirements the CITA had recommended . The TDMA IS-54 was released in early 1991 and tested that same year in Dallas and Sweden. In 1994, the new technology caused the FCC to announce that they were allocating spectrum specifically for Personal Communication Services (PCS) technologies at the 1900 MHz band. Since then three major have been released and they are all currently being used in PCS.
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