The first commercial mobile phone service was launched in Japan by NTT in 1978. By November 2007, the total number of mobile phone subscriptions in the world had reached 3.3 billion, or half of the human population (although some users have multiple subscriptions, or inactive subscriptions), which also makes the mobile phone the most widely spread technology and the most common gadget in the world.
The first mobile phone to enable internet connectivity and wireless email, the Nokia Communicator, was released in 1996, creating a new category of expensive phones called smartphones. In 1999 the first mobile internet service was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan under the i-Mode service. By 2007 over 798 million people around the world accessed the internet or equivalent mobile internet services such as WAP and i-Mode at least occasionally using a mobile phone rather than a personal computer.
See also: Cellular frequencies
Mobile phone tower
Mobile phone tower
Mobile phones send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas. These sites are usually mounted on a tower, pole or building, located throughout populated areas, then connected to a cabled communication network and switching system. The phones have a low-power transceiver that transmits voice and data to the nearest cell sites, normally not more than 8 to 13 km (approximately 5 to 8 miles) away.
When the mobile phone or data device is turned on, it registers with the mobile telephone exchange, or switch, with its unique identifiers, and can then be alerted by the mobile switch when there is an incoming telephone call. The handset constantly listens for the strongest signal being received from the... [continues]
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