A humble start to the mobile phone
In Stockholm recently I met Osten Makitalo, one of the creators of the modern mobile industry.
Back in the 1960s, while working for Televerket (now TeliaSonera) he initiated a research project in mobile phone technology. The batteries for the first mobile phone developed by his team filled the entire back seat of a car. The other problem was that after making two calls the battery was empty, and on several occasions the Swedish Road Service had to be called to get the car (and the mobile phone) going again.
The early response from the industry was that mobile telephony couldn’t be done. And, to make matters worse, commercial forecasts by very reputable organisations of the time were that less than 1% of all telephone calls would be made via mobile phones, and that mobile penetration would reach only about 3%.
But the Osten team never gave up. Trials were conducted in Stockholm , Gothenburg and Malmo , and in 1981 the first wide-range mobile service in the world was launched, based on the NMT (Nordic Mobile Technology). It was the first international standard that allowed for roaming. The service was launched in Sweden , Norway , Finland and Denmark .
At that stage the US-based AMPS service was already in use, but this was based on local services (roaming was not possible).
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