Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 13th -- 25 Year Anniversary of the First Commercial Cellular Phone Call

On October 13, 1983 the first commercial cellular call was placed to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell in Germany from the president of Ameritech Mobile Communications at a ceremony held outside of Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. This transatlantic conversation launched the nation's first citywide commercial cellular system.

The call was placed using the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, which weighed nearly two pounds, was 13 inches long, and had only 30 minutes of talk time.

CTIA noted that there are now more than 262 million wireless subscribers in the United States -- 83 percent of the total U.S. population -- and 3.3 billion active cell phones worldwide. Some other notes:

  • In the first six months of 2008 (Jan. 1 -- June 30) U.S. consumers talked on average a total of 187 billion minutes each month. That is more than 6 billion minutes each day, and amounts to nearly 13 hours (766 minutes) per customer each month.

  • More than 384 billion text messages were reported by carriers this year between Jan. 1 -- June 30 versus 295 billion voice calls. That is 22 billion more text messages than for all of 2007.

  • During the last 21 years, the average wireless subscriber's local monthly bill has decreased by 50 percent, dropping from nearly $100 per month in 1987 to less than $49 in June 2008.

  • More than 150 wireless companies offer wireless service in the U.S. Wireless service revenues reached $138.9 billion at the end of 2007.