The Analog Cellphone TimelineClick to viewAs of today, the analog cellphone is no more. Here's the complete timeline of its development, since Greece in 490BC to February 18, 2008, the day in which networks are no longer obligated to provide with analog cellphone coverage. Click to see the huge, high definition version.

(Click the image above for a huge 2000-pixel wide version of the timeline)

490 BC

Pheidippides ran from
Marathon to Athens to transmit the news of the victory over the Persians.

Signal was really bad back then: he died on the spot after delivering the message, according to Plutarch.



First successful telephone transmission. Graham Bell says "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you" and Watson understands each word clearly. A century later, people would be "What? Say that again? Watson? Watson?" over cellphone lines.


Marconi puts Tesla wireless communications discoveries to practice, develops commercial radio.


Reginald Aubrey Fessenden demonstrates first wireless radio telephone.



First US Patent on a wireless phone awarded to Nathan B. Stubblefield.


Radio telephony starts to be used in the First Class of the Hamburg-Berlin train line.


World War II starts. Germans start using radio phones in tanks on a large scale.


Germany surrenders. Hitler kills himself, he never used a Windows Mobile Phone, (or a Playstation 3 or a HD DVD player).


Bell Labs proposes hexagonal cells for mobile phones, with the three-sided antenna we know today. It sucked, because it was all theoretical.


Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) uses a real mobile phone from his car
in Billy Wilder's Sabrina (played by Audrey Hepburn).


First fully automatic mobile phone (Mobiltelefonisystem A or MTA) system launched in Sweden by Ericsson. Each handset, pictured above, was 90 pounds (40 kg.)


Ericsson's MTB is launched. This time, the headset is just 20 pounds (9 kg.) thanks to the use of transistors.


Automatic "call handoff" system is invented, allowing mobile phones to move through several cell areas during a single conversation without loss of conversation.


ARP, the first successful commercial cellphone network, is launched in Finland. You couldn't move from cell to cell seamlessly.

It was 0G (Zero G.)


April 3, 1973: Motorola's Dr. Martin Cooper calls Joel Engel, head of research at AT&T's Bell Labs, while walking in New York City
using the first Motorola DynaTAC prototype. The beginning of 1G networks.


Bell launches first trial commercial cellular network in Chicago.


Nokia introduces their first cellphone, the analog Mobira Senator. FCC approves the analog-based Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) and assigns frequencies in the 824-894 MHz band.


Motorola DynaTAC 8000X is the first commercial cellphone available in the US. MTB shuts down, still with 600 clients.


FCC approves the Digital AMPS, the beginning of the end for analog networks.


First commercial GSM call in the world. Done using Nokia hardware. 2G and digital begins.


txt msgng apprs 4 1st time LOL.


Motorola StarTAC debuts.


3G appears.


FCC decides to shut down the analog network.


GPRS and EDGE, technologies for faster (but not too fast)
data transfers, launch. It's 2.5G. 3G networks are not available yet.


iPhone launches. Still runs on 2.5G technology, but adds Wi-Fi for data transfer. 3G cellphones start to become ubiquitous.


February 19

Cellphone analog networks can shut down.

[Wikipedia, Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and various other sources]

For other gadgety Giz timelines, click here.