Motorola Did Not Invent The Cell Phone
Mark van der Hoek and I were both upset yesterday when another media outlet claimed that Motorola invented the cellular telephone. Stuff and nonsense. Cooper and company produced the first handheld cellular phone but they weren’t the first to invent or patent the technology. The Bell System was.
Here’s a link to the worldwide mobile telephone history piece I wrote for Telenor’s Telektronikk. It should clear up any confusion.
For those want just a snippet, read the paragraph below. I wish I could spend more time on this but I need to keep rebuilding the site.
The first commercial cellular radio system
In January, 1969 the Bell System made commercial cellular radio operational for the first time by employing frequency reuse in a small zone system. Using public payphones. Passengers on the Metroliner train service running between New York City and Washington, DC found they could make telephone calls while moving at more than 160 kilometers per hour. Six channels in the 450 MHz band were used again and again in nine zones along the 225 mile route. A computerized control center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, managed the system. Thus, the first cell phone was a payphone! As Paul described it in the Bell Laboratories’ Record article on the project, “[T]he system is unique. It is the first practical integrated system to use the radio-zone concept within the Bell System in order to achieve optimum use of a limited number of radio-frequency channels.”(11)12)