Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Consumer ElectronicsCell Phones & Plans · 2 months ago

Why weren't cell phones popular much earlier?

Cell phones existed in the 70's (in cars only), yet they didn't catch on. True the internet didn't exist then (at least as we know it), but I'll bet if they could've figured out a way to watch tv, listen to radio, send messages, and somehow rig a polaroid type camera onto them, then.....maybe I should go back in time and invent it?

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  • 1 month ago

    The older "bag phones" and "car phones" had poor reception and were very expensive to operate about $2 a min.  In the 70's and 80's that meant an average 6 min. call cost as much as eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at a restaurant. 

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  • 1 month ago

    In the early days, cell phones were prohibitively expensive for majority of people. Also, they were niche products for travelers or some business people

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  • 2 months ago

    Yes they had MOBILE PHONES in the 70's and 80's but they required a good antenna. had a lot of dead spots, range was limited, and they costed so much most people could not afford them. Mostly they were used by RICH DOCTORS and Only then sparingly as the service was bad and expense was way higher then it is now. The phones were also so big most were mounted in a vehicle or carried in a briefcase. They were NOT CELL PHONES and there were NO CELL PHONE TOWERS all over like they are now plus Limited Range and Power and Frequencies used.

    '

    It was much easier and better to get a good CB RADIO and RUN ILLEGALLY EXTRA SIGNAL/POWER BOOSTERS and see if you could find someone with a BASE/HOME STATION who could or would PATCH YOU THREW THEIR PHONE for your call.

    '

    There are MANY HAM AMATURE RADIO OPERATORS STILL active and can and will do emergency calls. transfers etc. for the Government etc. in case of emergencies when the cell phones are not working.

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    I for one can and do relay calls from Guam, and other places for Military People who want to use their MARS STATION to call because its a free service many of us give to our military and others who are in the clubs. 

    '

    It also keeps us in practice and up and running.. and YES YOU NEED A LICENSE to run a Ham or Mars station.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    A friend of mine who served in remote parts of Vietnam and Laos as a radio operator was 

    just asking me this. I honestly don't know, probably because towers weren't as strong then?

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  • 2 months ago

    Car phones in the 1970s were NOT cell phones. They were radio-phones or satellite phones and they cost thousands of dollars, were very bulky and awkward to use and hardly anyone except the very rich could afford to use them. You had to have a portable battery pack nearby and it weighed about 16 pounds. Also--a Polaroid camera would not have fit into any of them (AND the technology was completely different.). Television signals did not broadcast to them either.  You could always listen to the radio on your car's radio--which has been around since the 1930s or so--so there would have been no reason to put a radio into a car phone. You already HAD one. 

    Components for these phones were not readily available. And they were HUGE compared to today. You should probably research the history of digital electronics a bit more thoroughly. 

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  • Sky
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Probably because they were ludicrously expensive, had poor analog reception, had maybe 45 minutes of talk time on battery at best, and were either tethered to a car or were the size and weight of a brick to carry around.  Plus back then, people didn't have this OCD need to be continually entertained at all times in all places with a tiny little TV screen.  As far as radio goes, we did have small portable radios and walkman tape players.  And people didn't have an OCD need to take pictures of EVERYTHING like they do with their phones these days.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    I got my first cellphone in 1996, they were popular around that time.

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  • 2 months ago

    The phones themselves cost over $1,000.00 and the service fees ran between $100 and $300 per month. Additionally not all cities had coverage. A simple pager on the other hand would set you back less than $80 and you could find plans for less than $30/month. Hence the popularity of pagers.

    I had a pager, the company owner had the "bag-phone".

    Besides, Why watch T.V.? There are only three channels and during the day all they show are soap operas.

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  • 2 months ago

    There were NO cell phones in cars in the 1970s.

    Radio phones Did exist.

    Every idea involving technology takes time to develop.

    and many never get anywhere.

    Some things depend heavily on other things in order to exist at all.

    Going back in time to try to make something available before it was possible

    would break the space-time continuum.

    • Markus Imhof
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      Technically correct - the first public car phones came out 1958, but they weren't cellular. Cellular wasn't a thing until 1985.

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  • 2 months ago

    cell phones were extremely expensive back then, that's why. only super rich people had em.

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