The mobile phone, cellular phone, or simply cell phone is a long-range, portable electronic device used for mobile communication that uses a network of specialized base stations known as cell sites. In addition to the standard voice function of a telephone, current mobile phones can support many additional services such as SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, 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).
There is one U.S. patent, Patent Number 887357 for a wireless telephone, issued 1908 to Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray, Kentucky. He applied this to "cave radio" telephones and not directly to cellular telephony as we know it today. However, the introduction of cells for mobile phone base stations, invented in 1947 by Bell Labs engineers at AT&T, was 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 1983. 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 telephones, such as Mobile Telephone Service, were not officially categorized as mobile phones, since they did not support the automatic change of channel frequency during calls, which allows the user to move from one cell (the base station coverage area) to another cell, a feature called "handover".
In 1984, Bell Labs invented such a "call handoff" feature, which allowed mobile-phone users to travel through several cells during the same conversation. Motorola 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, Motorola manager Martin Cooper made the first call on a handheld mobile phone on April 3, 1973.
The first commercial 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) with the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system in 1981. This was followed by a boom in mobile telephone usage, particularly in Northern Europe.
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. A decade later, the first commercial launch of 3G (Third Generation) was again in Japan by NTT DoCoMo on the WCDMA standard. 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, mobile phones have become increasingly handy over the years.
Today, video and TV services are driving forward third generation (3G) deployment. And in the future, low cost, high speed data will driveforward the fourth generation (4G) as short-range communication emerges.Service and application ubiquity, with a high degree of personalization and synchronization between various user appliances,will be another driver. At the same time, it is probable that the radio access network will evolve from a centralized architecture to a distributed one.