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Where was the world’s first mobile network installed?

Back then, car phones were the only options among mobile devices. Photo: publicity

Even before the launch of the first mobile phone, Motorola’s DynaTac 8000X, in 1983, Japan was the first country to establish a commercial mobile network. On December 1, 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) introduced service to the citizens of Tokyo. A few years later, in 1984, Japan became the first country in the world to have full coverage of the first generation mobile network, 1G, throughout its territory.

The mobile phones available at the time were “car phones”, so the service offered by the Japanese carrier was for use in cars. The network had 88 mobile base stations and radio towers covering all wards of Tokyo. It allowed handover of calls from one tower to another, which occurs when the device leaves the coverage area of ​​one tower and enters that of another. There was no need for this handover to be done manually by humans. This was especially useful with moving cars.

It took some time for other countries to catch on to the new technology. In 1981, Nordic Mobile Telephone set up its 1G network simultaneously in Norway and Sweden. A year later, it was the turn of Denmark and Finland. It was only in 1983 that the United States created its own 1G network, started by Ameritech in Chicago, which offered DynaTAC in its plan.

1G networks had some drawbacks. They were limited to voice transmission, not very reliable, at a speed of 2.4 kbps. Sound quality and coverage left something to be desired. There was also no support for international roaming. Anyone with a radio scanner could listen in on the call as there was no form of encryption.

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