The first cell phone call: 40 years later - FOX 13 News

The first cell phone call: 40 years later

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

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."

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Governor kicks off 114th annual New York International Auto Show

    Governor kicks off 114th annual New York International Auto Show

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:27 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:27:34 GMT
    Auto fans you may already know this.... The 114th New York International Automobile Show is in town this week. Governor Cuomo was on hand Saturday to kick off the official opening of the 10 day event by driving a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette convertible through the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
    Auto fans you may already know this.... The 114th New York International Automobile Show is in town this week. Governor Cuomo was on hand Saturday to kick off the official opening of the 10 day event by driving a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette convertible through the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
  • Hundreds celebrate Easter at St. Patricks Cathedral

    Hundreds celebrate Easter at St. Patricks Cathedral

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:37:51 GMT
    Hundreds of people showed up to Saturday's mass at St. Patricks Cathedral to celebrate Easter, one of the holiest days for Christians around the world.
    Hundreds of people showed up to Saturday's Mass at St. Patricks Cathedral to celebrate Easter, one of the holiest days for Christians around the world.
  • Man struck and killed by NYC subway train

    Man struck and killed by NYC subway train

    Saturday, April 19 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-04-19 19:19:38 GMT
    A man in his 60s was killed by an oncoming train in midtown Manhattan after jumping on the tracks to grab his personal belongings that fell.
    A man in his 60s was killed by an oncoming train in midtown Manhattan after jumping on the tracks to grab his personal belongings that fell.
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices