The Road to 4G
This paper was published in 2014 within the Journal of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (Volume 8, Part 1, Pages 10-16) and is made available here with their kind permission.
When Dr Martin Cooper of Motorola walked along Sixth Avenue in New York on the 3rd April 1973 he entered the history books by becoming the first person to make a mobile phone call. However, the DynaTAC (Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage) mobile that he and his team at Motorola developed had its roots in technology that dates back to the mid 1940s. During World War Two, Motorola pioneered the development of the walkie-talkie epitomised by the American military’s SCR536. This two way radio transceiver, with its push to talk feature allowed one radio to transmit and all of the others in range to listen, may have been a long way from a mobile phone but the experience gained in developing it would prove to be extremely useful later. On the 17th June 1946 a team of engineers from Bell Labs demonstrated the world's first telephone call using a car radio phone and by 1948 that service had been made available in 100 cities across America attracting 5,000 customers who were making 30,000 calls per week. A public radio telephone service was introduced into the UK by the Post Office for customers in South Lancashire on 28th October 1959. That service was controlled by the Peterloo exchange in Manchester with two radio base stations, one at Winter Hill and the second in Liverpool. This service was subsequently extended to London in 1965 with the opening of the Post Office Tower and was inaugurated when the Postmaster General made a telephone call to the TV presenter, Richard Dimbleby, who was travelling in his chauffer driven Rolls Royce.