The Onward March Of Telecoms


In history there are occasionally events that mark the beginning of a new era, and this has particularly been the case in the field of telecommunications. Some historical examples include:

  • The first telegraph message was sent in the US 1844 by Samuel Morse from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore in Maryland.
  • The first telephone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell, its inventor, in 1876. He spoke to his co-worker Thomas Watson, telling him that he wanted to see him.
  • The first mobile telephone call in the UK was made by the comedian Ernie Wise on New Year’s Day in 1985 from St Katherine’s Dock in London to the Vodafone HQ which was based over an Indian restaurant.
  • The first smartphone was unveiled in August 1994 by the BellSouth Corporation. It was called the Simon Personal Communicator. As well as making calls, it could send faxes, email, and screens. Among other features It included a touch screen, calendar, organiser, and games.
  • In 2007 Steve Jobs, the late chairman of Apple announced the first iPhone which turned the whole business of smartphones around. It became an immediate success and spawned a whole new world in smartphone communications.

But not important developments in telecoms have been marked by iconic moments; many have simply evolved slowly over time. For instance mobile networks began with analogue communications, or 1G (first generation) networks.  Then along came digital networks, termed 2G or second generation. As well as improved security, these also made far more efficient use of the infrastructure, increasing the penetration of mobile telecoms.  The next advance was 3G, third generation. These networks provided considerably higher data rates, which made mobile browsing and mobile TV services a possibility.

As well as these different generations of mobile networks, they have not all been step functions. Certainly the change between 1G analogue and 2G digital was a step change, there were several stages in between 2G and 3G, and there have been many improvements to 3G in its onward march to 4G, or fourth generation.

4G is the latest innovation in mobile broadband. Although it is only just seeing the light of day in the UK, it has been available in elsewhere for some time. The first commercial 4G network was rolled out in Korea in 2006; in the Baltic States, the US and in certain Scandinavian cities in 2009; and in Estonia in 2010. In the UK 4G will be available in 16 cities by the end of 2012, so currently people are flocking to buy 4G mobile broadband deals in time for Christmas.

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This guest post by Claire Chat a Londoner interested in technology in general and the mobile and telecommunication industry. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat

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