Evolution of the Mobile Market

Evolution of the Mobile Market

The first radiotelephone service was introduced in the US at the end of the 1940s, and was meant to connect mobile users in cars to the public fixed network. In the 1960s, a new system launched by Bell Systems, called Improved Mobile Telephone Service” (IMTS), brought many improvements like direct dialing and higher bandwidth. The first analog cellular systems were based on IMTS and developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The systems were “cellular” because coverage areas were split into smaller areas or “cells”, each of which is served by a low power transmitter and receiver.

This first generation (1G) analog system for mobile communications saw two key improvements during the 1970s: the invention of the microprocessor and the digitization of the control link between the mobilephone and the cell site.

Second generation (2G) digital cellular systems were first developed at the end of the 1980s. These systems digitized not only the control link but also the voice signal. The new system provided better quality and higher capacity at lower cost to consumers.

Third generation (3G) systems promise faster communications services, including voice, fax and Internet, anytime and anywhere with seamless global roaming. ITU’s IMT-2000 global standard for 3G has opened the way to enabling innovative applications and services (e.g. multimedia entertainment, infotainment and location-based services, among others). The first 3G network was deployed in Japan in 2001. 2.5G networks, such as GPRS (Global Packet Radio Service) are already available in some parts of Europe.

Work has already begun on the development of fourth generation (4G) technologies in Japan.

It is to be noted that analog and digital systems, 1G and 2G, still co-exist in many areas.