1G – Interesting Facts About Evolution

1g, 2g, 3g, 4g, 5g

The evolution of wireless communication technology dates back to WW2. Back then it was used for military purposes. These were called “AM radio phones.” Up to this time, such devices were not available for commercial and personal causes. 

Radio Phones

When Was Car Phone Invented Wh 1

Source: telegraph.co.uk

The commercialization of radiophones starts in 1946 by USA’s Bell System with car phones. The improvement in current technology and the use of Improved Mobile Telephone Service(also known as PSTN) raises its popularity and demand by 1960.

0G Or Pre-1G Networks.

Similarly, in 1971 Finland started its first commercial mobile phone network called Autoradiopuhelin(ARP)  operating in the 150MHz band. That system has certain drawbacks such as switching of calls has to be done manually but on the other hand, they were compatible with car phones. 

These mobile telecommunication networks were not considered as the first wireless technology as coverage, voice quality, network architecture, etc. were not meeting the required standards. Hence they were termed as 0G or pre-1G networks.

1G Network

1g03 2
Source: NTT

The first generation of mobile technology in the world was introduced in Japan by Nippon Telephone and Telegram Company(NTT) in the year 1979 which has full coverage across the metropolitan area of Tokyo. 

It became nationwide as NTT expanded its network to cover the total population of Japan. The initial mobile devices were still car phones. But the mobile network was radically different from the previous 0G, as they were free from PSTN and utilizing a cellular network with 88 cell sites in all districts of Tokyo.

Moreover, handover between cell sites and automated switching features made them truly the first kind of mobile technology.

Nordic Mobile Telephone(NMT)

Following Japan, in 1981, the Nordic countries of Norway and Sweden launch their first generation of mobile telephony with the Nordic Mobile Telephone(NMT) standard. These standards were subsequently adopted in Denmark and Finland in the year 1982. 

With the ongoing popularity of the NMT standard, they reached many regions in quick succession such as Russian and Asian countries. Unlike the NTT networks in Japan, they allow international roaming making mobile communication more effective for accessing the network from any part of the world.

First Handheld Portable Mobile Phone

favpng motorola dynatac motorola 1
Source: favpng.com

On 13th October 1983, the USA launched its first wireless cellular network by Chicago-based Ameritech on AMP standard. America became the first country in the world to use a handheld portable mobile phone invented by Martin Cooper and manufactured by Motorola in the same year. These phones were called Motorola DynaTAC mobile phones which you normally see in old Hollywood movies. 

Several countries join the world of wireless communication after the USA including the UK, Mexico, and Canada in the early to mid-1980s.

NMT-450 Standard By Jabatan Telekom

By 1984, Malaysia launches its first cellular network using the NMT-450 standard by Jabatan Telekom(now Telecom Malaysia). Later, the first wireless telephone system (ATUR) was introduced by Jabatan Telekom Malaysia (JTM). 

Also in 1985, car phones evolved into shoulder phones in Japan in response to their increased portability.

European Total Access Cellular System

Mobile phones 1985 to 2015

Source: mybroadband

In 1985, the UK adopted the European Total Access Cellular System(TACS, later named ETACS) standard for its users. With the popularity of this standard, Japan switched from NTT to JTACS standard in 1988.

China’s First Wireless Network

As we know that China is the world’s leader in the economy with its 1.4 billion population the scope of connecting people through the wireless network is limitless. As a result of which China launched its first commercial wireless network in 1987 by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication of China using the TACS standard.

Mobile phones are an important part of the wireless communication network as they are the only way of making access to the network. Most of the phones of that era were car phones until Martin Cooper invented the first handheld mobile device called Motorolla DynaTac in association with Motorola. They were expensive for example Motorola DynaTac costs about US$3,995, massive weighing around 3-4 kg, and made for personal use.

Everything has a drawback, this network was no exception. Here we want to list out some of the limitations of 1G mobile communication technology.

Disadvantages of 1G Technology

  • Limited Mobility due to lesser number of cell sites
  • Bad/Poor voice quality due to interference
  • Poor bandwidth utilization as the mode of communication is analog
  • Less number of users as the FDMA method is used.
  • Each system operates on different frequency making them incompatible with one another
  • More load on MSC for making handover.
  • The maximum data speed of 1G is 2.4 Kbps.


Due to the inability of the first generation of mobile technology to meet various standards such as coverage, handover, automated switching, and capacity the second generation of a mobile network is inevitable. Moreover, the 1G network was analog without much security, persistent drop call, and poor battery life. These networks continued to provide service until it is being replaced by 2G digital communication.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *