updated 08:40 am EDT, Fri October 10, 2008
25th Anniv of Cellphones
The CTIA today marked the 25th anniversary of the first practical cellphone call. October 13th, 1983 saw the first call made from Ameritech's president in Chicago to the grandson of Alexander Bell in Germany. The phone at the time was one of Motorola's earliest, the DynaTAC 8000X, and is now dramatically outclassed by even basic modern phones; the brick-like device weighed two pounds, measured about 13 inches long and netted about a half-hour of calling time.
Plans were also extremely limited during the 1980s, according to the organization. An average cellphone bill in 1987 amounted to $100 per month and only included voice.
By contrast, cellphones today without exception are small and light enough to fit in most pockets and often supply at least a few hours' worth of calling time. An average cellphone plan in the US is estimated to cost about $49 and usually includes some form of MMS or SMS messaging. Data is also now more common, although many plans with a large amount of data often cost $70 or more per month, including AT&T's iPhone plan and Sprint's Simply Everything.
The industry is now significantly larger and not only includes early communications firms such as Motorola and Nokia but relative latecomers such as Apple and Palm.
At present, the mobile industry is making an increasing shift towards Internet access and by 2010 should see 4G service that transfers data faster than many landline Internet connections; a recent test saw the Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G standard hit 173Mbps while moving and theoretically allows very high-bandwidth features like streaming HD video.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000X