The mobile phone (also called a wireless phone or cellular phone, but also handy in German and kinito or κινητό in Greek) is a short-range, electronic device used for mobile voice or data communication over a network of specialized base stations known as cell sites. In addition to the standard voice function of a mobile phone, telephone, current mobile phones may support many additional services, and accessories, such as SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, gaming, bluetooth, infrared, camera with video recorder and MMS for sending and receiving photos and video. Most current mobile phones connect to a cellular network of base stations (cell sites), which is in turn interconnected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) (the exception is satellite phones).
The first commercial mobile phone service was launched in Japan by NTT in 1978. By November 2007, the total number of mobile phone subscriptions in the world had reached 3.3 billion, or half of the human population (although some users have multiple subscriptions, or inactive subscriptions), which also makes the mobile phone the most widely spread technology and the most common electronic device in the world.
The first mobile phone to enable internet connectivity and wireless email, the Nokia Communicator, was released in 1996, creating a new category of multi-use devices called smartphones. In 1999 the first mobile internet service was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan under the i-Mode service. By 2007 over 798 million people around the world accessed the internet or equivalent mobile internet services such as WAP and i-Mode at least occasionally using a mobile phone rather than a personal computer.
Mobile phones send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas. These sites are usually mounted on a tower, pole or building, located throughout populated areas, then connected to a cabled communication network and switching system. The phones have a low-power transceiver that transmits voice and data to the nearest cell sites, normally not more than 8 to 13 km (approximately 5 to 8 miles) away.
When the mobile phone or data device is turned on, it registers with the mobile telephone exchange, or switch, with its unique identifiers, and can then be alerted by the mobile switch when there is an incoming telephone call. The handset constantly listens for the strongest signal being received from the surrounding base stations, and is able to switch seamlessly between sites. As the user moves around the network, the "handoffs" are performed to allow the device to switch sites without interrupting the call.
Cell sites have relatively low-power (often only one or two watts) radio transmitters which broadcast their presence and relay communications between the mobile handsets and the switch. The switch in turn connects the call to another subscriber of the same wireless service provider or to the public telephone network, which includes the networks of other wireless carriers. Many of these sites are camouflaged to blend with existing environments, particularly in scenic areas.
The dialogue between the handset and the cell site is a stream of digital data that includes digitized audio (except for the first generation analog networks). The technology that achieves this depends on the system which the mobile phone operator has adopted. The technologies are grouped by generation. The first-generation systems started in 1979 with Japan, are all analog and include AMPS and NMT. Second-generation systems, started in 1991 in Finland, are all digital and include GSM, CDMA and TDMA.
The nature of cellular technology renders many phones vulnerable to 'cloning': anytime a cell phone moves out of coverage (for example, in a road tunnel), when the signal is re-established, the phone sends out a 're-connect' signal to the nearest cell-tower, identifying itself and signalling that it is again ready to transmit. With the proper equipment, it's possible to intercept the re-connect signal and encode the data it contains into a 'blank' phone -- in all respects, the 'blank' is then an exact duplicate of the real phone and any calls made on the 'clone' will be charged to the original account.
Third-generation (3G) networks, which are still being deployed, began in Japan in 2001. They are all digital, and offer high-speed data access in addition to voice services and include W-CDMA (known also as UMTS), and CDMA2000 EV-DO. China will launch a third generation technology on the TD-SCDMA standard. Operators use a mix of predesignated frequency bands determined by the network requirements and local regulations.'''
In an effort to limit the potential harm from having a transmitter close to the user's body, the first fixed/mobile cellular phones that had a separate transmitter, vehicle-mounted antenna, and handset (known as car phones and bag phones) were limited to a maximum 3 watts Effective Radiated Power. Modern handheld cellphones which must have the transmission antenna held inches from the user's skull are limited to a maximum transmission power of 0.6 watts ERP. Regardless of the potential biological effects, the reduced transmission range of modern handheld phones limits their usefulness in rural locations as compared to car/bag phones, and handhelds require that cell towers be spaced much closer together to compensate for their lack of transmission power.
Some handhelds include an optional auxiliary antenna port on the back of the phone, which allows it to be connected to a large external antenna and a 3 watt cellular booster. Alternately in fringe-reception areas, a cellular repeater may be used, which uses a long distance high-gain dish antenna or yagi antenna to communicate with a cell tower far outside of normal range, and a repeater to rebroadcast on a small short-range local antenna that allows any cellphone within a few meters to function properly.
Other manufacturers include Apple Inc., Audiovox (now UTStarcom), Benefon, BenQ-Siemens, CECT, High Tech Computer Corporation (HTC), Fujitsu, Kyocera, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Neonode, Panasonic (Matsushita Electric), Pantech Curitel, Philips, Research In Motion, Sagem, Sanyo, Sharp, Siemens, Sendo, Sierra Wireless, SK Teletech, Sonim Technologies, T&A Alcatel, Huawei, Trium and Toshiba. There are also specialist communication systems related to (but distinct from) mobile phones.
There are several categories of mobile phones, from basic phones to feature phones such as musicphones and cameraphones, to smartphones. The first smartphone was the Nokia 9000 Communicator in 1996 which incorporated PDA functionality to the basic mobile phone at the time. As miniaturization and increased processing power of microchips has enabled ever more features to be added to phones, the concept of the smartphone has evolved, and what was a high-end smartphone five years ago, is a standard phone today. Several phone series have been introduced to address a given market segment, such as the RIM Blackberry focusing on enterprise/corporate customer email needs; the SonyEricsson Walkman series of musicphones and Cybershot series of cameraphones; the Nokia N-Series of multimedia phones; and the Apple iPhone which provides full-featured web access and multimedia capabilities.
Mobile phones often have features beyond sending text messages and making voice calls, including Internet browsing, music (MP3) playback, memo recording, personal organizer functions, e-mail, instant messaging, built-in cameras and camcorders, ringtones, games, radio, Push-to-Talk (PTT), infrared and Bluetooth connectivity, call registers, ability to watch streaming video or download video for later viewing, video calling and serve as a wireless modem for a PC, and soon will also serve as a console of sorts to online games and other high quality games. The total value of mobile data services exceeds the value of paid services on the Internet, and was worth 31 billion dollars in 2006 (source Informa). The largest categories of mobile services are music, picture downloads, videogaming, adult entertainment, gambling, video/TV.
The other non-SMS data services used by mobile phones were worth 31 Billion dollars in 2007, and were led by mobile music, downloadable logos and pictures, gaming, gambling, adult entertainment and advertising (source: Informa 2007). The first downloadable mobile content was sold to a mobile phone in Finland in 1998, when Radiolinja (now Elisa) introduced the downloadable ringing tone service. In 1999 Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo introduced its mobile internet service, i-Mode, which today is the world's largest mobile internet service and roughly the same size as Google in annual revenues.
The first mobile news service, delivered via SMS, was launched in Finland in 2000. Mobile news services are expanding with many organizations providing "on-demand" news services by SMS. Some also provide "instant" news pushed out by SMS. Mobile telephony also facilitates activism and public journalism being explored by Reuters and Yahoo! and small independent news companies such as Jasmine News in Sri Lanka.
Companies like Monster are starting to offer mobile services such as job search and career advice. Consumer applications are on the rise and include everything from information guides on local activities and events to mobile coupons and discount offers one can use to save money on purchases. Even tools for creating websites for mobile phones are increasingly becoming available, e.g. Mobilemo
Mobile payments were first trialled in Finland in 1998 when two coca cola machines in Espoo were enabled to work with SMS payments. Eventually the idea spread and in 1999 the Philippines launched the first commercial mobile payments systems, on the mobile operators Globe and Smart. Today mobile payments ranging from mobile banking to mobile credit cards to mobile commerce are very widely used in Asia and Africa, and in selected European markets. For example in the Philippines it is not unusual to have your whole paycheck paid to the mobile account. In Kenya the limit of money transfers from one mobile banking account to another is one million US dollars. In India paying utility bills with mobile gains a 5% discount. In Estonia the government found criminals collecting cash parking fees, so the government declared that only mobile payments via SMS were valid for parking and today all parking fees in Estonia are handled via mobile and the crime involved in the activity has vanished.
Mobile Applications are developed using the Six M's (previously Five M's) service-development theory created by the author Tomi Ahonen with Joe Barrett of Nokia and Paul Golding of Motorola. The Six M's are Movement (location), Moment (time), Me (personalization), Multi-user (community), Money (payments) and Machines (automation). The Six M's / Five M's theory is widely referenced in the telecoms applications literature and used by most major industry players. The first book to discuss the theory was Services for UMTS by Ahonen & Barrett in 2002.
The availability of mobile phone backup applications is growing with the increasing amount of mobile phone data being stored on mobile phones today. With mobile phone manufacturers producing mobile handsets with more and more memory storage capabilities the awareness of the importance in backing up mobile phone data is increasing. Corporate mobile phone users today keep very important company information on their mobiles, information if lost then not easily replaced. Wireless backup applications like SC BackUp offer users the chance to backup mobile phone data using advanced wireless technology. Users can backup, restore or transfer mobile data anytime, anywhere all over the world, to a secured server.
Other common applications include diaries, timers, chronometers, games, ...
The mobile phone became a mass media channel in 1998 when the first ringing tones were sold to mobile phones by Radiolinja in Finland. Soon other media content appeared such as news, videogames, jokes, horoscopes, TV content and advertising. In 2006 the total value of mobile phone paid media content exceeded internet paid media content and was worth 31 Billion dollars (source Informa 2007). The value of music on phones was worth 9.3 Billion dollars in 2007 and gaming was worth over 5 billion dollars in 2007 (source Netsize Guide 2008 ).
The mobile phone is often called the Fourth Screen (if counting cinema, TV and PC screens as the first three) or Third Screen (counting only TV and PC screens). It is also called the Seventh of the Mass Media (with Print, Recordings, Cinema, Radio, TV and Internet the first six). Most early content for mobile tended to be copies of legacy media, such as the banner advertisement or the TV news highlight video clip. Recently unique content for mobile has been emerging, from the ringing tones and ringback tones in music to "mobisodes," video content that has been produced exclusively for mobile phones.
The advent of media on the mobile phone has also produced the opportunity to identify and track Alpha Users or Hubs, the most influential members of any social community. AMF Ventures measured in 2007 the relative accuracy of three mass media, and found that audience measures on mobile were nine times more accurate than on the internet and 90 times more accurate than on TV.
Formerly, the most common form of mobile phone batteries were nickel metal-hydride, as they have a low size and weight. Lithium-Ion batteries are sometimes used, as they are lighter and do not have the voltage depression that nickel metal-hydride batteries do. Many mobile phone manufacturers have now switched to using lithium-Polymer batteries as opposed to the older Lithium-Ion, the main advantages of this being even lower weight and the possibility to make the battery a shape other than strict cuboid. Mobile phone manufacturers have been experimenting with alternative power sources, including solar cells.
Each SIM Card is activated by use of a unique numerical identifier; once activated, the identifier is locked down and the card is permanently locked in to the activating network. For this reason, most retailers refuse to accept the return of an activated SIM Card.
Those cell phones that do not use a SIM Card have the data programmed in to their memory. This data is accessed by using a special digit sequence to access the "NAM" as in "Name" or number programming menu. From here, one can add information such as a new number for your phone, new Service Provider numbers, new emergency numbers, change their Authentication Key or A-Key code, and update their Preferred Roaming List or PRL. However, to prevent the average Joe from totally disabling their phone or removing it from the network, the Service Provider puts a lock on this data called a Master Subsidiary Lock or MSL.
The MSL also ensures that the Service Provider gets payment for the phone that was purchased or "leased". For example, the Motorola Razr V9C costs upwards of CAD $500. You can get one from Bell Mobility for approximately $200. The difference is paid by the customer in the form of a monthly bill. If, in this case, Bell Mobility did not use a MSL, then they may lose the $300–$400 difference that is paid in the monthly bill, since some customers would cancel their service and take the phone to another carrier such as Telus, or Verizon. This would eventually put the carrier or in this case, Bell Mobility out of business.
An increasing number of countries, particularly in Europe, now have more mobile phones than people. According to the figures from Eurostat, the European Union's in-house statistical office, Luxembourg had the highest mobile phone penetration rate at 158 mobile subscriptions per 100 people (158%), closely followed by Lithuania and Italy. In Hong Kong the penetration rate reached 139.8% of the population in July 2007. Over 50 countries have mobile phone subscription penetration rates higher than that of the population and the Western European average penetration rate was 110% in 2007 (source Informa 2007). The U.S. currently has one of the lowest rates of mobile phone penetrations in the industrialized world at 85%.
There are over five hundred million active mobile phone accounts in China, as of 2007, but the total penetration rate there still stands below 50%. The total number of mobile phone subscribers in the world was estimated at 2.14 billion in 2005. The subscriber count reached 2.7 billion by end of 2006 according to Informa, and 3.3 billion by November, 2007, thus reaching an equivalent of over half the planet's population. Around 80% of the world's population has access to mobile phone coverage, as of 2006. This figure is expected to increase to 90% by the year 2010.
In some developing countries with little "landline" telephone infrastructure, mobile phone use has quadrupled in the last decade. The rise of mobile phone technology in developing countries is often cited as an example of the leapfrog effect. Many remote regions in the third world went from having no telecommunications infrastructure to having satellite based communications systems. At present, Africa has the largest growth rate of cellular subscribers in the world, its markets expanding nearly twice as fast as Asian markets. The availability of prepaid or 'pay-as-you-go' services, where the subscriber is not committed to a long term contract, has helped fuel this growth in Africa as well as in other continents.
On a numerical basis, India is the largest growth market, adding about 6 million mobile phones every month. With 256.55 million total landline and mobile phones, market penetration in the country is still low at 22.52%. India expects to reach 500 million subscribers by end of 2010. Simultaneously, landline phone ownership is decreasing gradually and accounts for approximately 40 million connections.
There are three major technical standards for the current generation of mobile phones and networks, and two major standards for the next generation 3G phones and networks. All European and African countries and many Asian countries have adopted a single system, GSM, which is the only technology available on all continents and in most countries and covers over 74% of all subscribers on mobile networks. In many countries, such as the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, and South Korea and Vietnam GSM co-exists with other internationally adopted standards such as CDMA and TDMA, as well as national standards such as iDEN in the USA and PDC in Japan. Over the past five years several dozen mobile operators (carriers) have abandoned networks on TDMA and CDMA technologies, switching over to GSM.
With third generation (3G) networks, which are also known as IMT-2000 networks, about three out of four networks are on the W-CDMA (also known as UMTS) standard, usually seen as the natural evolution path for GSM and TDMA networks. One in four 3G networks is on the CDMA2000 1x EV-DO technology. Some analysts count a previous stage in CDMA evolution, CDMA2000 1x RTT, as a 3G technology whereas most standardization experts count only CDMA2000 1x EV-DO as a true 3G technology. Because of this difference in interpreting what is 3G, there is a wide variety in subscriber counts. As of June 2007, on the narrow definition there are 200 million subscribers on 3G networks. By using the more broad definition, the total subscriber count of 3G phone users is 475 million.
In many markets from Japan and South Korea, to Scandinavia, to Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, most children age 8-9 have mobile phones and the new accounts are now opened for customers aged 6 and 7. Where mostly parents tend to give hand-me-down used phones to their youngest children, in Japan already new cameraphones are on the market whose target age group is under 10 years of age, introduced by KDDI in February 2007. The USA also lags on this measure, as in the US so far, about half of all children have mobile phones. In many young adults' households it has supplanted the land-line phone. Mobile phone usage is banned in some countries, such as North Korea and restricted in some other countries such as Burma.
Given the high levels of societal mobile phone service penetration, it is a key means for people to communicate with each other. The SMS feature spawned the "texting" sub-culture amongst younger users. In December 1993, the first person-to-person SMS text message was transmitted in Finland. Currently, texting is the most widely-used data service; 1.8 billion users generated $80 billion of revenue in 2006 (source ITU). Many phones offer Instant Messenger services for simple, easy texting. Mobile phones have Internet service (e.g. NTT DoCoMo's i-mode), offering text messaging via e-mail in Japan, South Korea, China, and India. Most mobile internet access is much different from computer access, featuring alerts, weather data, e-mail, search engines, instant messages, and game and music downloading; most mobile internet access is hurried and short.
The mobile phone can be a fashion totem custom-decorated to reflect the owner's personality. This aspect of the mobile telephony business is, in itself, an industry, e.g. ringtone sales amounted to $3.5 billion in 2005.
Mobile phone use can be an important matter of social discourtesy: phones ringing during funerals or weddings; in toilets, cinemas and theatres. Some book shops, libraries, bathrooms, cinemas, doctors' offices and places of worship prohibit their use, so that other patrons will not be disturbed by conversations. Some facilities install signal-jamming equipment to prevent their use, although in many countries, including the US, such equipment is illegal. Some new auditoriums have installed wire mesh in the walls to make a Faraday cage, which prevents signal penetration without violating signal jamming laws.
Trains, particularly those involving long-distance services, often offer a "quiet carriage" where phone use is prohibited, much like the designated non-smoking carriage of the past. In the UK however many users tend to ignore this as it is rarely enforced, especially if the other carriages are crowded and they have no choice but to go in the "quiet carriage". In Japan, it is generally considered impolite to talk using a phone on any train -- texting is generally the mode of mobile communication. Mobile phone usage on local public transport is also increasingly seen as a nuisance; the city of Graz, for instance, has mandated a total ban of mobile phones on its tram and bus network in 2008 (though texting is still allowed).
Mobile phone use on aircraft is also prohibited and many airlines claim in their in-plane announcements that this prohibition is due to possible interference with aircraft radio communications. Shut-off mobile phones do not interfere with aircraft avionics; the concern is partially based on the crash of Crossair Flight 498.
In the UK in 2000 it was claimed that recordings of mobile phone conversations made on the day of the Omagh bombing were crucial to the police investigation. In particular, calls made on two mobile phones which were tracked from south of the Irish border to Omagh and back on the day of the bombing, were considered of vital importance.
Further example of criminal investigations using mobile phones is the initial location and ultimate identification of the terrorists of the 2004 Madrid train bombings. In the attacks, mobile phones had been used to detonate the bombs. However, one of the bombs failed to detonate, and the SIM card in the corresponding mobile phone gave the first serious lead about the terrorists to investigators. By tracking the whereabouts of the SIM card and correlating other mobile phones that had been registered in those areas, police were able to locate the terrorists.
However, most mobile phone networks operate close to capacity during normal times and spikes in call volumes caused by widespread emergencies often overload the system just when it is needed the most. Examples reported in the media where this have occurred include the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Hawaiian earthquake, the 2003 Northeast blackouts, the 2005 London Tube bombings, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse. Thus mobile phones are better for isolated emergencies such as vehicle accidents.
Under FCC regulations, all mobile telephones must be capable of dialing emergency services, regardless of the presence of a SIM card or the payment status of the account.
The European market adopted a "Calling Party Pays" model throughout the GSM environment and soon various other GSM markets also started to emulate this model. As Receiving Party Pays systems have the undesired effect of phone owners keeping their phones turned off to avoid receiving unwanted calls, the total voice usage rates (and profits) in Calling Party Pays countries outperform those in Receiving Party Pays countries. Consequently, most countries previously with Receiving Party Pays models have either abandoned them or employed alternative marketing methods, such as massive voice call buckets, to avoid the problem of phone users keeping phones turned off.
In most countries today, the person receiving a mobile phone call pays nothing. However, in Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States, one can be charged per minute, for incoming as well as outgoing calls. In the United States and Canada, a few carriers are beginning to offer unlimited received phone calls. For the Chinese mainland, it was reported that both of its two operators will adopt the caller-pays approach as early as January 2007.
While some systems of payment are 'pay-as-you-go' where conversation time is purchased and added to a phone unit via an Internet account or in shops or ATMs, other systems are more traditional ones where bills are paid by regular intervals. Pay as you go (also known as "pre-pay") accounts were invented simultaneously in Portugal and Italy and today form more than half of all mobile phone subscriptions. USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan and Finland are among the rare countries left where most phones are still contract-based.
One possible alternative is a sim-lock free mobile phone. Sim-lock free mobile phones allow portability between networks so users can use sim cards from various networks and not need to have their phone unlocked.
For example, at the request of some of their customers, Verizon created usage controls that meter service and can switch phones off, so that children could get some sleep. Other users that some people are working on limiting include persons operating moving trains or automobiles, coaches when writing to potential players on their teams, and movie theater audiences. By one measure, nearly 40% of automobile drivers aged 16 to 30 years old text while driving, and by another, 40% of teenagers said they could text blindfolded.
On March 20, 2008, an Emirates flight was the first time voice calls have been allowed in-flight on commercial airline flights. The breakthrough came after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the United Arab Emirates-based General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) granted full approval for the AeroMobile system to be used on Emirates. Passengers were able to make and receive voice calls as well as use text messaging. The system automatically came into operation as the Airbus A340-300 reached cruise altitude. Passengers wanting to use the service received a text message welcoming them to the AeroMobile system when they first switched their phones on. The approval by EASA has established that GSM phones are safe to use on airplanes, as the AeroMobile system does not require the modification of aircraft components deemed "sensitive," nor does it require the use of modified phones.
In any case, there are inconsistencies between practices allowed by different airlines and even on the same airline in different countries. For example, Northwest Airlines may allow the use of mobile phones immediately after landing on a domestic flight within the US, whereas they may state "not until the doors are open" on an international flight arriving in the Netherlands. In April 2007 the US Federal Communications Commission officially prohibited passengers' use of cell phones during a flight.
In a similar vein, signs are put up in many countries, such as Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., at petrol stations prohibiting the use of mobile phones, due to possible safety issues.
Most schools in the United States and Europe have prohibited mobile phones in the classroom, or in school due to the large number of class disruptions that result from their use, and the potential for cheating via text messaging. In the UK, possession of a mobile phone in an examination can result in immediate disqualification from that subject or from all that student's subjects.. Cell phones could be also used for bullying and threats to other students, or displaying inappropriate material in school.
A working group made up of Finnish telephone companies, public transport operators and communications authorities has launched a campaign to remind mobile phone users of courtesy, especially when using mass transit—what to talk about on the phone, and how to. In particular, the campaign wants to impact loud mobile phone usage as well as calls regarding sensitive matters.
Many US cities with subway transit systems underground are studying or have implemented mobile phone reception in their underground tunnels for their riders. Boston, Massachusetts has investigated such usage in their tunnels, although there is a question of usage etiquette and also how to fairly award contracts to carriers.
The issue of mobile communication and etiquette has also become an issue of academic interest. The rapid adoption of the device has resulted in the intrusion of telephony into situations where this was previously not known. This has exposed the implicit rules of courtesy and opened them to reevaluation.
The use of mobile phones by people who are driving has become increasingly common, either as part of their job, as in the case of delivery drivers who are calling a client, or by commuters who are chatting with a friend. While many drivers have embraced the convenience of using their cellphone while driving, some jurisdictions have made the practice against the law, such as the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the United Kingdom, consisting of a zero-tolerance system operated in Scotland and a warning system operated in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Officials from these jurisdictions argue that using a mobile phone while driving is an impediment to vehicle operation that can increase the risk of road traffic accidents.
Studies have found vastly different relative risks (RR). Two separate studies using case-crossover analysis each calculated RR at 4, while an epidemiological cohort study found RR, when adjusted for crash-risk exposure, of 1.11 for men and 1.21 for women.
A simulation study from the University of Utah Professor David Strayer compared drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% to those conversing on a cell phone, and after controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, the study concluded that cell phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers. Meta-analysis by The Canadian Automobile Association and The University of Illinois found that response time while using both hands-free and hand-held phones was approximately 0.5 standard deviations higher than normal driving (i.e., an average driver, while talking on a cell phone, has response times of a driver in roughly the 40th percentile).
Driving while using a hands-free device is not safer than driving while using a hand-held phone, as concluded by case-crossover studies. epidemiological studies, simulation studies, and meta-analysis. Even with this information, California recently passed a cell phone law that requires drivers who are 18 years of age or older to use a hands-free device while using the phone in the vehicle. Moreover, this law also restricts drivers under the age of 18 from using a mobile phone. This law goes into effect on July 1, 2008 with a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 fines for each subsequent conviction. The consistency of increased crash risk between hands-free and hand-held phone use is at odds with legislation in over 30 countries that prohibit hand-held phone use but allow hands-free. Scientific literature is mixed on the dangers of talking on a phone versus those of talking with a passenger, with the Accident Research Unit at the University of Nottingham finding that the number of utterances was usually higher for mobile calls when compared to blindfolded and non-blindfolded passengers, but the University of Illinois meta-analysis concluding that passenger conversations were just as costly to driving performance as cell phone ones.
Like all high structures, cellular antenna masts pose a hazard to low flying aircraft. Towers over a certain height or towers that are close to airports or heliports are normally required to have warning lights. There have been reports that warning lights on cellular masts, TV-towers and other high structures can attract and confuse birds. US authorities estimate that millions of birds are killed near communication towers in the country each year.
Some cellular antenna towers have been camouflaged to make them less obvious on the horizon, and make them look more like a tree.
An example of the way mobile phones and mobile networks have sometimes been perceived as a threat is the widely reported and later discredited claim that mobile phone masts are associated with the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) which has reduced bee hive numbers by up to 75% in many areas, especially near cities in the US. The Independent newspaper cited a scientific study claiming it provided evidence for the theory that mobile phone masts are a major cause in the collapse of bee populations, with controlled experiments demonstrating a rapid and catastrophic effect on individual hives near masts. Mobile phones were in fact not covered in the study, and the original researchers have since emphatically disavowed any connection between their research, mobile phones, and CCD, specifically indicating that the Independent article had misinterpreted their results and created "a horror story". While the initial claim of damage to bees was widely reported, the corrections to the story were almost non-existent in the media.
There are more than 500 million used mobile phones in the US sitting on shelves or in landfills , and it is estimated that over 125 million will be discarded this year alone. The problem is growing at a rate of more than two million phones per week, putting tons of toxic waste into landfills daily. Several sites including PaceButler Corporation, TradeMyCell.com, ReCellular, and MyGreenElectronics offer to buy back and recycle mobile phones from users. In the United States many unwanted but working mobile phones are donated to women's shelters to allow emergency communication.
In 1908, for a wireless telephone was issued in to Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray, Kentucky. He applied this patent to "cave radio" telephones and not directly to cellular telephony as the term is currently understood. Cells for mobile phone base stations were invented in 1947 by Bell Labs engineers at AT&T and further developed by Bell Labs during the 1960s. Radiophones have a long and varied history going back to Reginald Fessenden's invention and shore-to-ship demonstration of radio telephony, through the Second World War with military use of radio telephony links and civil services in the 1950s, while hand-held cellular radio devices have been available since 1973. A patent for the first wireless phone as we know today was issued in US Patent Number 3,449,750 to George Sweigert of Euclid, Ohio on June 10th, 1969. Due to their low establishment costs and rapid deployment, mobile phone networks have since spread rapidly throughout the world, outstripping the growth of fixed telephony.
In 1945, the zero generation (0G) of mobile telephones was introduced. 0G mobile phones, such as Mobile Telephone Service, were not cellular, and so did not feature "handover" from one base station to the next and reuse of radio frequency channels. Like other technologies of the time, it involved a single, powerful base station covering a wide area, and each telephone would effectively monopolize a channel over that whole area while in use. The concepts of frequency reuse and handoff as well as a number of other concepts that formed the basis of modern cell phone technology are first described in , issued May 1, 1979 to Charles A. Gladden and Martin H. Parelman, both of Las Vegas, Nevada and assigned by them to the United States Government.
This is the first embodiment of all the concepts that formed the basis of the next major step in mobile telephony, the Analog cellular telephone. Concepts covered in this patent (cited in at least 34 other patents) also were later extended to several satellite communication systems. Later updating of the cellular system to a digital system credits this patent.
Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher and executive is widely considered to be the inventor of the first practical mobile phone for handheld use in a non-vehicle setting. Using a modern, if somewhat heavy portable handset, Cooper made the first call on a handheld mobile phone on April 3, 1973.
The first commercial citywide cellular network was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979. Fully automatic cellular networks were first introduced in the early to mid 1980s (the 1G generation). The Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system went online in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1981. NMT was the first mobile phone system that enabled international use of the phone, or "roaming" on other networks in other countries. This was followed by a boom in mobile phone usage, particularly in Northern Europe.
In 1983, Motorola DynaTAC was the first approved mobile phone by FCC in the United States. In 1984, Bell Labs developed modern commercial cellular technology (based, to a large extent, on the Gladden, Parelman Patent), which employed multiple, centrally-controlled base stations (cell sites), each providing service to a small area (a cell). The cell sites would be set up such that cells partially overlapped. In a cellular system, a signal between a base station (cell site) and a terminal (phone) only need be strong enough to reach between the two, so the same channel can be used simultaneously for separate conversations in different cells.
Cellular systems required several leaps of technology, including handover, which allowed a conversation to continue as a mobile phone traveled from cell to cell. This system included variable transmission power in both the base stations and the telephones (controlled by the base stations), which allowed range and cell size to vary. As the system expanded and neared capacity, the ability to reduce transmission power allowed new cells to be added, resulting in more, smaller cells and thus more capacity. The evidence of this growth can still be seen in the many older, tall cell site towers with no antennae on the upper parts of their towers. These sites originally created large cells, and so had their antennae mounted atop high towers; the towers were designed so that as the system expanded—and cell sizes shrank—the antennae could be lowered on their original masts to reduce range.
The first "modern" network technology on digital 2G (second generation) cellular technology was launched by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Group) in 1991 in Finland on the GSM standard which also marked the introduction of competition in mobile telecoms when Radiolinja challenged incumbent Telecom Finland (now part of TeliaSonera) who ran a 1G NMT network.
The first data services appeared on mobile phones starting with person-to-person SMS text messaging in Finland in 1993. First trial payments using a mobile phone to pay for a Coca Cola vending machine were set in Finland in 1998. The first commercial payments were mobile parking trialled in Sweden but first commercially launched in Norway in 1999. The first commercial payment system to mimick banks and credit cards was launched in the Philippines in 1999 simultaneously by mobile operators Globe and Smart. The first content sold to mobile phones was the ringing tone, first launched in 1998 in Finland. The first full internet service on mobile phones was i-Mode introduced by NTT DoCoMo in Japan in 1999.
Until the early 1990s, most mobile phones were too large to be carried in a jacket pocket, so they were typically installed in vehicles as car phones. With the miniaturization of digital components and the development of more sophisticated batteries, mobile phones have become smaller and lighter.
In the 2000s, video and TV services are driving forward third generation (3G) deployment. In the future, low cost, high speed data may drive forward the fourth generation (4G) as short-range communication emerges. Service and application ubiquity, low cost data delivery, and a high degree of personalization and synchronization between various user appliances will be drivers. At the same time, the radio access network may evolve from a centralized architecture to a distributed one.