Introducing (1978!) Cellular Phone Service


Bell Labs explains Advanced Mobile Phone Service, available in a car near you.

AT&T's archives of the Bell Labs research and media provides a neverending stream of fascinating tidbits about the development of modern mobile communications.

Recently, archivist Robin Edgerton discovered a 1978 film called " Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) " that is the earliest she's found that describes cellular telephone operation.

The honeycomb-like structure of a cellular network is shown and the principles of its operations, first laid out in a 1947 paper , are described.

If the timeline for mobile (i.e. cellular) phone communications seems too early, that's because we're not talking about handheld phones. Mobile telephony, at this time, implied car phones . In 1976, there were 44,000 mobile phones on the Bell System, according to this excellent concise history of mobile telephony .

( Image via Picksell / )