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History of Mobile Phones

History of Mobile Phones

The scientific innovations necessary for mobile phones were developed in the late 1940s and 50s, but due to highly restrictive FCC regulations, no such phones were brought to the market until 1973, but the great expense and lack of demand made it so that cellular phones were not used by significant portions of the population until the mid 1980s.

During the 1950s, mobile phone technology was used extensively in trains throughout Europe. Radio communication was common in the United States in taxicabs and emergency vehicles. Car phones were luxury items that spread slowly in popularity. Their great weight, size and cost limited mobile phones to the extraordinarily wealthy. The technology did not catch on until the FCC approved commercial cellular phone service in 1982. Within several years, they were a mass market product.

The first generation of mobile phones (commonly referred to as 1G) made analog transmissions only--meaning that they transmitted data through a sliding scale of information, rather than through binary code as in digital transmissions. The transmission protocol that the phones used was almost entirely determined by the FCC regulations regarding bandwidth usage. The FCC restricts what frequencies are allowed for use for certain purposes by selected licensed companies. The mobile phones of this period were very hefty--often weighing two to four pounds--and cost thousands of dollars.

Mobile phone technology developed around the world at roughly the same pace as in the US. Japan and Europe deregulated their airwaves at a slightly quicker pace than in the US. Mobile phones were launched first in Japan in 1979, for example, years before they entered the market in the US. However, the first mobile phone in the US was launched by an American company, Motorola. Europe, Japan and South Korea adopted third generation (3G) phone standards much faster than in the US during the early 2000s, in part due to slower deregulation in the US.

The advance of computer miniaturization during the 1980s allowed mobile phone companies to shrink down the size of their briefcase units to handheld phones by the late 1980s. In the 1990s, very small phones became common, as did those with significant additional features, such as note-taking, personal organization and e-mail. Second generation (2G) phones that used digital transmission--most significantly making it possible to send and receive SMS text messages--became common throughout the world beginning in 1990.

In just a few short decades, mobile phone technology has greatly enhanced human communication. People can stay in touch with their friends and family at all times. Workers can collaborate with one another instantaneously, around the world, at any time and in any place. The most advanced phones can browse the internet at high speeds and run complex applications that would have taxed an advanced computer just 20 years ago. Modern phones can serve as GPS systems, provide mobile video feedback, trade stocks and much more. In the developing world, cell phones have provided low-cost communications infrastructure, connecting the world's poorest people to the global marketplace like never before.

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Effect Of Mobile Phones In Rural Areas History Essay

Effect Of Mobile Phones In Rural Areas History Essay

Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Northerners, like many other Nigerians, believe that farming brings the most revenue. Which I believe is the truth. In developed countries, farming is embraced by the youths and even the old people. This is because there is a steady production rate. My article is focused on finding ways in which the agricultural sector can improve in rural areas in Adamawa state. Farming in Adamawa requires certain climatic conditions like temperature and wind intensity, although there are many other issues less related to the above stated like pest control, irrigation and fertilizer application. These conditions control the growth and harvesting of many crops in the state, most especially cash crops like Cassava. ICT, have a crucial role to play here as it makes it easy to reach majority of the rural farmers in very poor areas in the state. I placed more emphasis on how farming in these areas can be improved. Information is the basics of cultivating, planting and harvesting. Throughout the year, this information is handed down to the farmers through radio but this information is not always accurate and does not come at the right time. Sometimes, this information is delayed and sometimes does not come at all in situations where the base station does not receive service. Mobile phones would bring a solution to counter all these problems. This research suggests ways in which it can improve farming in these rural areas. The notion here is that as the farmers get enough of this information, their orientation begins to change and whatever funding they get from external sources would be put to good use as these farmers have waited so long for the opportunity to get funding. Funding would be treated intensively in the rest of the paper.


According to spore (2008), half of the world's populations now use a mobile telephone, compared with roughly about two billion just two years ago. In Africa mobile phone business is the most rapid growing sector of the economy with over 120 million subscribers. In Nigeria, the introduction of GSM in 2001 marked the positive contribution of telecommunication to social- economic activities of the people. The GSM industry has empowered 64.3 million subscribers and achieved 45.93 percent as of 2008. Empowerment of citizens with mobile phones has transformed business and the way of life in urban and rural areas of the country. The remarkable impact of GSM industry is demonstrated by access to communication by coverage of 5000 communities and village by 53% in gross domestic product in 2003, by employment of over 135,000 persons and by boosting government revenues over 200 billion naira. In agriculture the mobile phone holds the ace in the application of modern information communication technologies (ICT) to disseminate information and knowledge to farmers.

Background of Adamawa state

Adamawa state was created on 24th august, 1991 under the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida. It was carved out of the then Gongola state of which the other part was Taraba state. It had Yola as its capital. The state is located in the northern part of Nigeria and its still undergoing development with schools, companies and telecommunication networks. It has twenty one local governments to its name. The state is blessed with a lot of mountains and hills which constitute a great location to invest in tourism for the country but at the same time has very harsh weather conditions as the state is located close to the desert areas. It is very close to Cameroon as it shares boarders with the country and located very close to the famous Mandara Mountains. Adamawa state is noted for its high cultural heritage which was strong since the inception of its country. The various indigenes of the state practice different religion as the state is not just limited to one religion.

Adamawa state is situated in North Eastern Nigeria where it sits in a transition belt between the Sahel Savannah and Guinea Savannah, the state is known for its fertile land which produces both food for consumption and cash crops for sale. Similarly, the availability of rivers, lakes and other water sources as well as the abundance of rainfall during the raining season (May to October) has made the population's major occupation to be farming. The major cash crops produced in the state include cotton, groundnut, and sugar cane, while food crops include maize, yam, cassava, guinea corn, millet and rice. These are produced in both rural as well close to urban settlements where it is transported for consumption within the state and to other markets. Food crops that are grown are as a result of the diversity of the vegetation as well as the fertile nature of the soil. Similarly, other food produce such as diary and livestock are abundant due to the fertile grazing fields that accord the Fulani nomads to raise their livestock efficiently. The Benue River has also made fishing one of the most lucrative and sources of fish to the state. Furthermore, Adamawa state along with its neighboring state of Taraba is a major food supplier to the country as well as to the Republic of Cameroon thereby earning the country foreign exchange and provides gainful employment to the population.


Fortunately for me, my father is a large scale farmer in our village which is located in a rural area in Adamawa area, Hong to be specific. A number of my questions were directed to him as he is experienced in the field. Also I interviewed a couple of farmers that are employed on the farm. Unfortunately for me they only understand the native language which made life miserable for me. I was able to get a translator to get the answers I needed. Furthermore, I used the bank manager of zenith bank, Yola who gave me information about loans and other major financing questions. Some information was also obtained from journals in the AUN library. Majority of my sources came from my personal opinion which I feel if implemented would make the rural farming better.

Advantages of Mobile Phone in Adamawa state

Reduces transaction cost

Simple way of communication

Reduces transportation cost

Increase network by reaching their buyers on time

Food Supply in Adamawa before mobile phones

Before mobile phone came to Adamawa in 2004, by the famous MTN, and existed among farmers between 2006 and 2007 marketers from the urban areas invest in farmers who in turn give them the yield of what value their investment provided. These marketers have agents who serve as intermediaries between the farmer and marketers due to lack of communication skills among farmers. The time from which the marketer invests in the farmers produce to the time it is cultivated takes about 5-6months. After it is been cultivated, the farmers contact their agent who lives in the village to the marketer's agent in the urban area who then sends the produce to the marketer. Same goes to the supply of crops grown outside Adamawa state. The farmer's agent forms a corporate body with other agents in other to exchange food produce. Perishables in Adamawa are sold within the rural area while the non perishable are those sold to other states. There is also need for funding in terms of storage. Mobile phones would only help the farmers to sell of these produce in time but has nothing to do with storage.

Food Supply in Adamawa after mobile phone

After mobile came into Adamawa, the food supply management was slightly different. Only those with good educational background eliminated the use of agents while others still make use of agents or their children who are educated to communicate with the marketers via a mobile phone. Although not all farmers could afford a mobile phone, there exist phone boots where these farmers can go to make phone call to communicate with the marketers. NITEL which is the body responsible for communication networks is not reliable and therefore these farmers are left only with the options of using mobile phones which can be expensive. With the intervention of the |NCC, some mobile phone companies have reduced cost so that these farmers can survive.

Glo (Globacom) reduces rate for Nigeria farmers

Nigeria's National communication Operator Globacom intervened in the farming sector as they have made it possible for these farmers to see the profit which they actually make. This was done with the help of the recent sponsor of the Western Nigeria International Agriculture Summit. The summit, which saw hundreds of farmers in attendance, was organized as an exhibition and training seminar to bring farmers together for capacity building, learning, and technology transfer. However, Globacom said it had used the opportunity of the summit to bring value to Nigerian farmers by offering members of the various Nigerian farming associations, post-paid lines with a Closed User Group (CUG) which would enable them to make calls for as low as N10 per minute or 20k per second. Also in attendance at the summit were small and large scale farmers associations, cooperatives, and investors, retailers of farming equipment and products as well as top government officials.

Growth in agriculture

Agricultural resources represent a ready and highly renewable economic resource in the state employing a very high proportion of the work force. Unfortunately, it is characterized by very low returns as a result of low technology, poor quality inputs, lack of labor saving devices and effective extension services among others. This goes to show that growth in agriculture would be positively impacted by mobile phones but it is seldom used in large scales. Subsistence farmers do communicate to their suppliers via mobile phones but usually not on large scale basis. Because 90% of farming is at a subsistence level, most farmers do not even make enough money to have a mobile phone talk less of communicating to fellow farmers and suppliers with it. The situation is seeing some improvement as mobile technology is penetrating the rural areas.

Challenges in the agricultural sector of Adamawa state

The Agricultural sector faces a lot of challenges which limits these farmers from reaching the full potential of what they do. Lack of training has been identified as one of the main factors. As the world develops everyday so do farming practices. These farmers have to drop some of the old traditional methods in which they have been using and develop the new practices which would defeat most of the problem of pest and disease and most of the limitations that they have. Furthermore, the small produce of the harvest makes the price very low compared to other neighboring countries in Africa like Ghana, Cameroon. With no a good awareness of the management of crops, the problem of low yield will keep affecting the market as without the farmers there is no market. Individual, Government and NGO's need to put more effort to ensure that these farmers are well educated cause without then there is going to be big trouble.

Future of mobile phone among farmers

In Africa today, most of the resources that help in the agricultural sector in rural areas especially are successful through the use of mobile phones. While in urban areas most of these supplies are made through the use of the internet. In Nigeria youths have shunned away from agriculture simply because there are no incentives. Therefore NGO and government agencies have decided to bring incentives to draw these youths closer to farming since it is one of the most important sector that draws revenue to the country.

If these mobile phones are brought to these Farmers, it would help them to strategize planning as they would know the time to plant and time to harvest. It would provide them with weather alerts of the nest day or next week so it would be a guide to them. Also it can inform the farmers on fluctuation of market prices. They know when a certain product has increased or decreased in price in the market. These can be provided through mobile commerce tools which are already installed on the mobile device. In Adamawa state, were there is a high level of sunshine, the government can invest in solar panels to assist these farmers. With solar panel, there will be no risk of failure of where these weather stations are monitored since there would be a steady supply of power.

Negative Impact of Mobile Phone

The introduction of mobile phones in Adamawa has its negative effect; this is due to the fact that mobile phones in Adamawa are the major distribution in the market today. In the markets lots of food supply can no longer been seen, given that Adamawa is a great producer of maize, yam, cassava, guinea corn, millet and rice. Marketers in Adamawa before the introduction of mobile phones based their income solely on food supply, but since mobile phones was brought to the market the issue of food supply has gone down by a great percentage, food supply which was once seen as the source of living for some farmers are now seen as a stand by income gainer. Before mobile phones was in existence, food supply was relatively very cheap, but since these mobile phones came into place and are at a high price, the issue of food been supplied at a cheaper rate was cut off, now you can see that food supply, especially food been transported across cities in Adamawa are expensive. Market price in food supply is now at a competitive rate with the mobile phones in the market, almost all farmers have mobile phones and most time one major thing in their mind is not to get their food supply to the consumers, but is how to buy a recharge card for their mobile phone.

One of the major problems facing agricultural financing, especially in rural areas, is poor handling of loans. The targeted farmers barely have access to loans due to barriers or conditions attached. Even when they have access to the loans, they are often given lower than what they applied for, because of insufficient funds. The very unfortunate thing is that the fake influential people who pose to be farmers meet up with the conditions thereby having access to the loans. Another problem is the fact that farmers do not really channel the funds to what it was originally intended for (agricultural production); instead they use it for personal purposes. For this, some blame can be placed on the policy that empowers them with money without the information what the money can and should be used for. Many farmers are already used to their old ways of doing things, and they can continue without the extra money. Thus, they need to be taught new agricultural techniques that will help them understand where to channel the funds they receive, and this is where ICT comes into play.


The impact of GSM to the farming sector has been of great benefits to the economy. It has improved the communication system between the farmers and the marketers and this has help enhance the method of communication between them. With the right training, farmers will boost agricultural production. Farmers can't do this all alone. They would require the help of external bodies to intervene especially in the aspect of funding which I consider the most important aspect. They would need funding from the government, external agencies and even private individuals. If they all can come together and assist these farmers, with the crops we already produce in the rural areas, the production level will rise. Mobile phone companies also should not relent in helping these farmers by providing services to them at a cost that they would be able to afford.

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Mobile phone history

Mobile phone history

Ernie Wise made the UK's inaugural mobile phone call on 1 January 1985. Coverage was restricted to London and costs were prohibitive, but Britain's mobile culture had arrived.

Britain's mobile phone users were either very rich or used a mobile in their jobs. When digital arrived in 1992 and two new networks, One2One and Orange, launched their first products a year later, the market opened up to consumers for the first time.

Mobile phone use spread slowly at first, but gathered pace as prices came down. Whilst there were only four networks in the UK, a large number of companies tried their hand at supplying handsets. Phillips, Alcatel, Orbitel, Nortel, NEC, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Maxon, Technophone, Swatch, Siemens, Sony and British Telecom are a few of the brands people will remember. However, three names emerged as market leaders, Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia.

Motorola, the maker of the world's first hand portable, focussed on attention grabbing, high status products. Ericsson, one of the oldest names in the telecommunications industry, reluctantly entered the handset business in the 80s. However, Finnish firm Nokia's commitment to good design with a human face was the winning formula.

If a phone was easy to use, it was popular, but it was also good for the network operator. People were much more likely to use their mobile if it was easy to look up a friend's number, if not, they would use a landline phone. So operators pushed phones that were easy to use. Nokia's commitment to usability gave its phones a significant advantage over competitors.

Finally fun and fashion became the important selling factors. Nokia's team of young designers was able to understand and exploit both the young professional and the teenage market and keep their phones the coolest.

More recently another firm famous for its design aesthetic and the usability of its products, Apple, pushed Nokia off its top spot.

To go back to the beginning, the story of mobile phones in the UK began many years before Ernie Wise made that call.

Car phones

The UK's first mobile phone users were motorists in Manchester. A car radio phone system began in Manchester in 1959. The state owned, General Post Office or GPO, ran the network. Subscribers, as they were called, in South Lancashire could connect for �195 (more than �3000 in today's money). There were only six channels which meant only six calls could take place at the same time and all calls were placed through the operator. There were eighty-six subscribers by 1963, but the GPO made a loss on the service.

Nevertheless, the GPO persevered with the car radio service. In 1965, the same year as the Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) opened for business, a new car radio telephone service, called 'System 1' started in London. The Postmaster General made the first call to Richard Dimbleby. Calls cost from 1s 5d for the first three minutes.

By 1983, the service was 'System 4' and could handle calls automatically without an operator. It was still highly exclusive as radio bandwidth was a scarce resource.

When cellular networks arrived in 1985 car phones remained one of the most popular ways to go mobile. The cost of miniaturising the technology was high, so hand held phones were much more expensive. Powerful car mounted transmitters and receivers could also make the most of the limited coverage. When the Carphone Warehouse was launched in 1989, car phones were the still cheapest way to own a mobile.

From car phones to cellular phones

The problem with the early car phone networks was that there were a limited number of channels and only one pair of people could use one channel at the same time. This meant that the systems being such a scarce resource would always be expensive.

Engineers had already come up with a way to solve this problem: the cellular network. Divide the area of the network into cells and imagine that people don't move when they make the calls, then the channels only need to be unique within a cell. If now you allow people to move, essential for a car phone network, you only need the channel to be unique in a one cell and all adjacent cells. When the car moves from one cell to another, some magic, must give the phone another channel in the new cell. That magic is hardware and software which was not able to do this complex switching until the end of the 70s.

The world's first cellular network started in Japan in 1979. In Norway, Sweden and Finland, the NMT network opened for business on 1 October 1981. The same technology was used for the cellular network based on NMT in Saudi Arabia which surprisingly became fully operational a month earlier.

One of the biggest names in mobile phones launched its first car phone, the Mobira Senator, in 1981. Mobira was a joint venture between Finnish television maker Salora and a rubber and cable manufacturer called Nokia.

The next country to go mobile was the USA in 1983. Britain's system was based on the US system, but with certain modifications meaning that our phones would not be compatible in other countries. The UK's first hand held mobile phone was the American Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, which debuted in the USA in 1983. They were as large as a house brick, much heavier and as costly as a small car.

Britain's mobile phone network system was shaped by government policy. Large corporations were out and competition was in. The GPO, now the newly privatised British Telecom, was not going to be Britain's sole mobile provider. The Government insisted on two networks. The first was a joint venture between British Telecom and Securicor called Cellnet. The second was headed by defence communications specialist Racal and called Vodafone. Vodafone beat Cellnet to become Britain's first mobile network.

In those days the cost of a mobile phone meant that they were only viable for businessmen, who needed to be in constant touch with the office. The cost could be justified in terms of saving time. It took another eight years before consumers started to get a look in with mobile technology.

GSM was a product European co-operation. In the early days of cell phones different countries went their own way. To business users in Europe this was a disaster, as cell phones would stop working as they crossed borders.

The body which started co-operation with mobile networks was CEPT, the European Conference of Post and Telecommunications administrations. CEPT was a meeting for experts from the postal and telecommunication providers in European countries. In 1982, CEPT set up a working group, the Groupe Spéciale Mobile, or GSM. GSM met for the first time in Stockholm with the idea of establishing a European standard around the 900Mhz band. The UK joined GSM, but was already going its own way with the ETACS system. [1]

GSM officially launched nearly ten years later in 1991. It quickly became the standard in France and Germany, but the UK already had two analogue providers covering the country. However, analogue's days were numbered. The Government had already issued two new licences for mobile network providers on a digital format based on 1800Mhz called PCN. These two new providers were meant to help spread mobile phone use out of the business community and make mobiles for the masses a real possibility. The two new providers were Mercury and Orange.

However, the UK's first digital service provider was Vodafone, which started the UK's first GSM network in 1991. Vodafone's very limited service targeted high flying businessmen keen to take their cell phones to Europe. Rather than the beginning of a new service for consumers, the initial GSM network was even more exclusive than the original analogue one.

Mercury One2One

First of the new companies to offer a digital service was Mercury. Their One2One network offered limited coverage, initially in the M25 area only. The service launched on 7 September 1993 with two new phones: the M200 made by Siemens and the M300, a rebranded Motorola phone.

Customers of the new network quickly discovered some of the most irritating aspects of digital communications. When the connection was poor it could sound as if you were talking to a Dalek. On the analogue networks you could always speak above the noise on a bad line, but digital voices broke up into metallic twangs.

This was not the only issue. Handsets were shoddily made. The plastic broke easily, especially on the battery of the M200 phone.

Mercury's saving grace was that it offered free evening and weekend calls. The hope was that customers would see Mercury One2One as a replacement for their home phones. The age of consumer mobile phones had begun.

Orange was run by Hutchinson Telecommunications, a giant mobile phone dealer. Hutchinson's executives had their fingers burnt a few years earlier with the Rabbit phone. Based on cordless phone technology, the Rabbit phone, was a cheap alternative to mobile phones. You could make calls if a Telepoint denoted by a upturned R symbol, was nearby. It was meant to be a replacement for the public phone box, but for every Telepoint there were eighty phone boxes.

Hutchinson's executives were careful not to make the same mistake. Orange had almost national coverage, excepting Wales, when it launched on 28 April 1994. They also picked better phones. The first Orange phone was a specially made Nokia, a derivative of the smart new Nokia 2110, which was the cutting edge phone of its day.

Metro Digital

Vodaphone experimented with different tariff levels to lure in more customers. LowCall offered lower handset prices, but higher call chargers to less frequent users. In the Autumn of 1993 they launched MetroDigital as a direct competitor to Mercury's struggling One2One service. MetroDigital offered cheaper phones and offered cheaper calls if they were made from a nominated Metro cell, more expensive calls if from further away.

Motorola StarTAC, that'll do nicely

Whilst mobile phones were becoming cheaper, they were losing their kudos. The Motorola StarTAC changed all that. It was the world's first clam shell style phone, a natural evolution of the MicroTAC. Motorola advertised the new phone alongside a credit card, to show its diminutive size. It was no co-incidence that the credit card was an American Express Gold Card. At £1400, the StarTAC was firmly targeted at the Gold Card using class.

Pay and go

Whilst the new digital networks convinced some people it was time to go mobile, the biggest deterrent was the contract with the service provider. You had to sign up to monthly fees and call charges. Many people were happy to buy a mobile phone, but did not want this extra hassle.

Just as Vodafone pioneered GSM, they were also the first company to offer a pre-paid service on the old analogue system. However, pay-and-go did not really get to be a serious option until 1997 when One2One launched the first digital pre-paid service.

By Christmas 1997 there was a choice of three pay and go services: Vodafone 'Pay As You Talk'; One2One 'Up 2 You' and Orange 'Just Talk'. Vodafone offered cheaper analogue phones including the Nokia Ringo, one of Nokia's last analogue phones, for �99. Both Orange and One2One offered just one choice of phone for �179.99.

Fun and fashion

An aftermarket industry sprung up around mobile phones, selling all sorts of gadgets to make mobile life easier. In 1997 for around £40, you could by a BTG 'Aloha Palmtree', a Swatch style see-through case, which could transform a plain Ericsson phone into a fashion accessory. There were a huge variety of other colours and styles to chose from. Unfortunately, to fit most of them you had to carefully disassemble the phone and void the warranty.

Ericsson went one better in 1997 with the new GA628 which had interchangeable front panels in different colours. However, the phone that captured the imagination of the fashion conscious young consumers was the Nokia 5110, launched the following year with its Xpress-On, fascias.

Tipping point

In 1999 the supermarkets starting selling mobile phones alongside fruit and veg. Tesco opened by discounting the price of a basic pay and go phone to £49.99. For that you got a basic black phone: a Motorola C520 on Orange and One2One; a Philips C12 BT Cellnet or a Sagem 815 Plus on Vodafone. Asda then undercut Tesco by reducing its price to £39.99.

The year 2000 was the tipping point for mobile phone ownership. Supermarket deals on Pay as you Go phones helped push mobile ownership from 46% of the population to 76%. [2]

Camera phones

Once everyone could afford a phone, the race was on the make them buy another one.

The latest craze to sweep Tokyo's youth in 2001 was the camera phone. The Sharp J-SH04 was the hot gadget that could take pictures you could send to your friends.

UK mobile users got a chance to join in the new fashion, when in 2002 T-Mobile launched the UK's first Mobile Picture Messaging Service. For an extra £20 per month users could send pictures using a new phone, the Sony Ericsson T68i. The T68i, although it supported picture messaging, lacked an essential feature - a camera. You had to take the photographs using a separate camera module.

Way back in 2000 service providers shelled out millions for the new 3G licences. The first 3G service '3', owned by Hutchinson Telecommunications of Orange and Rabbit Phone fame, began on 3 March 2003. 3G was slow to take off. Consumer magazine 'Which?', thought it offered little for the extra money.

In 2007, Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs announced the beginning of a new age when he told the world about the iPhone. Apple fans in their millions eagerly anticipated the latest gadget. Today a derivative of this product is still just as attractive.


2. Article on history of mobile phones from the University of Salford: Mobile phones

Article by Steven Braggs. November 2011, corrections June 2012

Mobile phone history