Friday, July 29, 2011

1G - 1st Generation mobile communications

1G - 1st Generation mobile communications

With the creation of the micro-processor and digitization of control links between mobile phones and cell sites in the 1970’s, the first generation of cellular standards (1G) was developed around Analog technology. In the early eighties, Europe was concerned with the issue that multiple standards were being developed across countries, but with no conformity. Compared to the United States that concentrated on standards development within its own boundaries, Europe took on a different strategic approach of focusing on unification of its mobile growth efforts.

Nordic Mobile Telephone System (NMTS450):

In 1981, the first multinational cellular system was developed within the Scandinavian countries of Denmark Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Europe was already dealing with nine incompatible analog communication systems that were causing roaming difficulties across borders. With strong government backing, the Scandinavian countries witnessed early success with its NMT standard. This put the region in the forefront of cellular standards development and led Europe to focus on developing the next generation of cellular standards using digital instead of analog.

Advanced Mobile Phone Services (AMPS):

On October 12, 1983, the Regional Bell Operating Company, Ameritech started the first American commercial cellular service in Chicago based on AMPS standards. AMPS was developed along a higher 800MHz frequency and used FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) technology for transferring information.

During this period, the United States had little concerns over roaming issues and standards over North American boundaries compared to what Europe had gone through in its own region. With the completion of the Bell System divestiture around 1984, new competition and new products escalated in the telecommunications industry. However, the United States had already developed a strong system of landlines and had little economic incentive to focus its development beyond Analog standards during this time. Also with little frequency available, the FCC’s heavy regulation of the airwaves would prove to be a hindrance in the progression of U.S. Cellular networks and technology compared to Europe.

Total Access Communications Systems (TACS):

Around 1985, the United Kingdom had developed TACS as a new national standard for its own region. TACS was based upon the AMPS standards of using FDMA analog technology and was within the 800 MHz frequency range.

The Growth of Mobile Standards and Cellular Functionality

By Scott Pearson


Professor Carey
New Mass Media
Spring 2005