The first cell phone call: 40 years later - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

The first cell phone call: 40 years later

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Cell phone calls began 40 years ago. Believe it or not, the first cell phone call was made on April 3, 1973.

In the final frontier, Captain Kirk's gold flip-top communicator triggered the idea for something most thought was truly out of this world back then: the cell phone.

40 years ago in New York City, the first ever cell phone call was made on a Motorola brick that weighed 2.5 pounds and had a 20-minute battery life.

In New York City, where gossip is king, I wanted to know what was said. So I asked the guy who made the call: Martin Cooper, the cell phone inventor.

"I said: 'Joel, I am calling you from a cell phone. But a real cell phone; a personal, portable, hand-held cell phone," Cooper said.

The mobile network was in place, but the call went just one way. Ten years later, in 1983, the cell phone was available to anyone who wanted one and was willing to pay $3,995 for a phone that gave you a whopping 30 minutes of talk time.

The prices slowly started to drop.

By the time the 1989 Motorola Microtac arrived on the market the price was much lower. It weighed much less, too: just 12 ounces. There were more than 3 million cell phone subscribers in the United States alone.

"We knew that someday everyone would have a cell phone," Cooper said. "But we never knew on the other hand could have predicted that a cell phone would contain a computer, a camera, the Internet."

Now nearly everyone on planet Earth is tethered to their constant companion. There are more than 6 billion subscribers worldwide.

But, at least one person says all those fancy new phones are already getting a little old fashioned. 40 years from now it will be a whole new frontier.

"You will have cell phone on you, but you will not know it's there," Cooper said. "You will just use it and it will be intuitive."

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