25 years ago today: 'Mr. Watson, come here, this new cell phone is so cool'

Well, I don't know exactly what was said, but let's pretend it was something along those lines.

From a CTIA press release:

The first commercial cellular call was placed on Oct. 13, 1983 to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell in Germany from the president of Ameritech Mobile Communications at a ceremony held outside of Soldier Field in Chicago.  This transatlantic conversation launched the nation's first citywide commercial cellular system. Weighing nearly two pounds and 13 inches long, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X used on that historic day had only 30 minutes of talk time, a far cry from the sleek, thin multi-purpose wireless handsets of today.

The historic nature of the event earned it a coveted spot on the Buzzblog list of "2008's 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries."

That CTIA release includes a number of facts that paint a vivid picture of how far the mobile-phone phenomenon has come since that day:

  • There are 3.3 billion active cell phones worldwide;
  • The 262 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. represent 83 percent of the population;
  • One in 6 households reported having only wireless phone service at the end of last year;
  • The typical U.S. blabbermouth spends an average of 13 hours per month on their mobile phone (I don't spend 13 minutes a month on mine).
  • Nevertheless, the average monthly bill has actually decreased -- by half -- from $100 in 1987 to $49 today (and mine is less than half again).
  • Fully 23 percent of children have their own mobile phone by the time they enter the second grade.

That last one is not true; I made it up, just because I have three second-graders, none of whom will get their own phone until they can afford one.

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