Testing Cell Phones in 1979
In this 1979 AT&T Archive video, a series of 70′s-tastic dudes and ladies use car phones to talk on the phone IN A FREAKIN’ CAR! Truly amazing, and so authentic that it looks fake. From AT&T’s description:
Made one year into the first true cell phone trials, this film profiles customer reactions and the technology that made mobile phones possible. The Chicago test cellular network was built in 1977 by the Bell System and had tests during 1978; this film was made in 1979 after a year with 1,300 customers using the system.
The system involved building a group of towers that transmitted telephone calls within their own hexagonal “cell.” A call switched from tower to tower as the car went through the cells. The film includes an animated explanation of this. This system is basically still used today, only the network has expanded greatly.
The FCC approved commercial cell phones on a regular basis in 1982. By 1984 there were 25,000 cell phone users, by 2000 that number had ballooned to 100 million.
Hit me on my burner, using your car phone. We’ll have a nice chat, until AT&T drops the call. (Zing!)