Mobile Phone Lines & Services: An Introduction

The early testing of wireless communication technology began towards the end of World War II. Since that time wireless telecommunication has grown quickly, and we're now living in a period of unprecedented breakthroughs in communication.

Overview:

History of Mobile Phone Lines & Services

While it is hard to believe, the first wireless phone was met with heavy criticism due to people not believing in its technology and accusing the creators of fraud. With the assistance of the Oakland Transcontinental Aerial Telephone and Power Company, Professor Albert Jahnke created the phone in 1908. It then wasn't until about 20 years later, when more technology was created focusing on wireless communication capabilities.

The first real testing of wireless communications began on military-operated trains by the German railroad system. Following the war in 1946, the United States was introduced to commercial wireless technology by Bell Labs.

Bell Labs was soon followed by AT&T who released the first wireless telephone service called Mobile Telephone Service (MTS) in 1949. MTS was limited to car phones and phones installed in other types of vehicles.

It wasn't until 1973 that the first handheld mobile phone was created by Motorola. This device was then used by Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher, to place the first ever handheld mobile phone call.

What Is Mobile Telephone Service (MTS)?

After its commercial release in 1949, AT&T had over 5,000 customers placing over 30,000 calls a week with Mobile Telephone Service (MTS). The technology was first met with enthusiasm, but then problems started to arise.

Calls had to incorporate the use of operators as the caller had to press a button on the handset to speak on the phone and release the button to listen, much like a walkie-talkie.

In the end, the service was considered to have several major flaws as there were only three radio channels that were available for calls. This meant that only three customers could make a call in any city at one time.

The service also became very expensive costing $15 a month. Adjusted to the current market, the original service would cost $176 a month today. Due to the high cost and the lack of service, engineers began working on ways to improve the service.

What Is Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS)?

In 1965, AT&T released Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS) as an upgrade to MTS. To enhance the original service's capabilities, more radio channels were added.

This allowed more customers the ability to make more phone calls at the same time, rather than its predecessor which only allowed for three calls at one time in an area.

The use of operators was also eliminated as the phone user could simply dial their own destination number. Again Americans were excited at first with service but, ultimately, like with MTS the IMTS surpassed its maximum capacity of over 40,000 customers.

AT&T gives us a detailed example explaining that in New York City alone, 2,000 customers were forced to share a dozen radio channels and wait 30 mins just to make a phone call.

What Is Radio Common Carrier (RCC)?

Radio Common Carrier (RCC) was launched in the late 1960s by independent service providers and serviced as a rival to AT&T's IMTS.

While the service had many of the same capabilities as IMTS, there were many cons. The biggest disadvantage was that users couldn't travel from state to state or roam.

What Is 1G - Analogue Cellular?

The first version of the mobile service we know today was known as 1G (Analogue Cellular). Released in 1979 in Tokyo, calls were operated using analog signals at high frequencies.

To help with call location, the area map was divided into "sector cells" which then utilized a radio network and one transceiver.

The service began to show weakness as the data could be easily compromised. Identity information could simply be stolen at any point in time when there was a data transfer. The call quality with the 1G service was also horrible due to conflicts with the analog service.

What Is 2G - Digital Cellular Service?

As cell phone demand increased dramatically, advancements were made and the 2G (Digital Cellular) service was created.

Data was now able to be digitally encrypted, which eliminated one of the main problems with 1G networks. Data services were created to enhance the phone experience with SMS text messages becoming available as an option to communicate.

Call quality also improved with 2G. One of the original issues from 1G was resolved as background noise during calls became minimal on 2G. The one con for the service was that users in less populated areas couldn't connect too many calls at once due to the call signal being low.

What Is 3G - Mobile Broadband?

As phone technology continued to advance, the internet did as well. The demand for the new broadband internet service brought on the yearning for faster data speeds for phones as well.

The first commercial use of 3G (Mobile Broadband) in the United States was through the carrier Monet Mobile Networks, this carrier would later close down and Verizon Wireless became the first major carrier of the technology.

On both the 2G and 3G network there were two main wireless technologies Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System Mobile Communication (GSM). These two technologies allowed for multiple users to communicate at the same time on the same network without interference.

With the internet being accessible on phones and tablets, broadband technology continued to expand with streaming services for TV and radio being added. The world soon began to connect to their favorite online services such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Netflix, Hulu, and more as the mobile internet speeds and capabilities grew.

At the end of 2016, there were over 2 million applications for the Apple App Store and Google Play and over 600,000 applications for Amazon and Windows Store.

What Is 4G - Native IP Network?

Wireless service has evolved today to 4G (Native IP Network). The first mobile carrier in the United States to offer the service was Sprint. There was no more circuit switching for the service. This means that there was a specific channel for each call that was placed.

The internet now became available as a means to place voice calls as all signals became digitized. Placing a phone call no longer relied on analog signals anymore.

The current speed of the 4G network is 10 times faster than the 3G speeds alone. With 4G also came the introduction of Long-Term Evolution Time (LTE) technology. This technology simplified the wireless network allowing information to be transferred via internet protocol, improving data speeds and quality.

What Is 5G?

5G is still in the planning and testing stage and is not expected to be available in the United States until late 2017 or early 2018. The 5G network will give wireless customers improved coverage, higher data speeds, and it will lower battery consumption.