From Car Phone To iPhone: Mobiles Celebrate 30 Year Anniversary

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Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first mobile phone call on a public mobile network.The original call was made in 1981 from an in-car phone system that weighed 14kg and housed a 45cm handset – a unit that cost the equivalent of around $17,000 today.

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While today’s phones cost a fraction of that at an even smaller fraction of the size, this revolutionary car phone had just enough onboard storage to store 16 numbers.

Disgruntled Vodafone customers might not feel so bad if they compared their coverage to the first mobile network set up by Telstra (then known as Telecom) back in 1981. Coverage was limited to the greater Melbourne area at first, stretching out to Sydney later in that year, then to the rest of Australia’s capital cities by 1985.

1981’s 1300 customers have stretched to an estimated 22 million mobile phone services today, and a Telstra survey has unremarkably reminded us of how integral mobile phones are in our daily lives.

 

50 percent of survey respondents panicked within five minutes of thinking they’d lost their phones, while 25 percent panic after less than a minute. Gen Y was born into mobile phones, and so almost a third of this generation checks their mobile before having breakfast or going to the bathroom in the morning.

Almost half of these phone users rank their phone as the top innovation in their lives, before desktop PC evolution to laptops and oven migration to microwaves.

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