40 years since first mobile phone call


Handset that made first call on April 3, 1973, had a talk-time of 35 minutes and took 10 hours to recharge

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first mobile phone call made on a stand-alone device.

The first call was made in New York on a prototype Motorola DynaTAC handset by the manufacturer’s employee Martin Cooper.

The handset measured nine inches tall, weighed a kilogram, had a talk-time of 35 minutes and took 10 hours to recharge.

Mobile phones had been used in cars since 1946 in the US, with the technology becoming more commonplace in the 50s and 60s.

In the last 40 years the industry has grown to be worth an estimated £800 billion, a figure former president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology Mike Short expects to increase as mobile innovations continue.

He said: “With close to 7 billion customers today, we already expect this year globally more mobile devices (or subscriptions) than people.

“Since its first use 40 years ago, the mobile phone has completely changed our lives. The first decade was a research or a ‘demonstrator’ phase, rapidly followed by analogue networks deployed over 10 years from the early 1980’s largely based on car phones and used in business in the developed world.

“This soon led to the digital decade, mainly between 1993 and 2003, when consumerisation and globalisation of mobile really took off. This led to a further data adoption phase with the arrival of 3G and during 2003 – 2013 access to the internet and the wider use of smartphones became a reality.”

Pictured is a collection of Motorola handsets from 1985.