The first mobile network was launched in 1976 in Japan, Motorola introduced its first prototype “handset” even six years earlier. The origins of mobile phones, however, go much deeper into history.
Speaking of the US, it was the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, specifically 1948/9. At that time, a short film was directed by Bell Telephone, whose aim was to demonstrate to those interested the ability and functioning of the newly offered “mobile phones”.
Combination of radio and landline
The film demonstrates the use of mobile phones in cars, but also mentions other possible scenarios. In practice, in any case, it was a fascinating combination of radio and then fixed line system. The car was fitted with a classic telephone handset, which was connected to transmitters and receivers placed in large boxes in the trunk.
The call from the car was connected by radio to the nearest transmitter, which was already connected to the classic telephone line. Cables led from him to the exchange, where the operators handled the call as a normal long-distance phone call.
The system was available in two variants: Highway and Urban. As the name suggests, one was taught for highways, while the other was taught for cities. Technically they differed in the frequency at which the transmitters worked. Both systems were not compatible, so if you wanted to be able to use your mobile phone both in the 40km city zone and on the highway, it was necessary to double everything except the handset. In the boot had to be a pair of tens of kilograms weighing transmitters on the roof two antennas.
The system was obviously demanding on electricity. The video mentions that it may be necessary to install a larger battery or even a generator. Conversely, the practical feature was a light that let you know if you missed a call. Then it was enough to call the operator and ask who called.
At first glance, the system does not seem very practical, but at the time it was a revolution. It gained popularity especially among professional customers, on which is also aimed at promotional film. Until the mid-1950s, however, the problem was that there was a constant network congestion during peak hours due to the low number of channels.