On This Day…
3rd April 1973 – First hand-help mobile phone call
On this day in 1973 the first hand held mobile phone call was made by Motorola engineer Martin Cooper from Sixth Avenue in New York while walking between 53rd and 54th streets.
Cooper hoisted the two-and-a-half pound prototype to his ear and called a rival, Joel Engel of Bell Laboratories at AT&T, to declare that his Motorola team had devised a functional portable phone.
“There was silence at the other end of the line,”
Cooper recalled to Bloomberg in 2015.
“To this day, Joel doesn’t remember that call, and I’m not sure I blame him.”
The clunky “shoe” phone, almost as big as a shoebox, allowed a user to talk for 35 minutes and required 10 hours to recharge.
Motorola spent 10 years overcoming technical and regulatory hurdles, and began commercial service in 1983 using a slimmer 16-ounce model costing the consumer between £3,500 and £4,000