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UMTS / 3G History and Future Milestones

The Early Days

  • 1770s Luigi Galvani investigated the nature and effects of electrophysiology, and began experiments with muscular stimulation by electrical means.

  • 1799 Alessandro Volta discovered the voltaic pile, a forerunner of the electric battery, which produced a steady stream of electricity.

  • 1820 Christian Ørsted discovered electromagnetism.

  • 1830 Joseph Henry transmitted the first practical electrical signal

  • 1831 Michael Faraday published his discovery: the principle of electro-magnetical induction.

  • 1837 Samuel F.B. Morse developed his fully functional telegraph

  • 1842 Joseph Henry discovered that an electrical spark between two conductors is able to induce magnetism in needles, this effect is detected at a distance of 30 metres

  • 1849? - 1857 Antonio Meucci invented a "sound telegraph", a device for transforming electricity to sound. He called his invention a teletrofono, or electric telephone. He filed his first patent caveat (notice of intention to take out a patent) in 1871. This provisionary patent lapsed in 1874.

  • 1854 The fundamental idea of the electrical transmitting of sound was published by Charles Bourseul first in the magazine "L'Illustration de Paris".

  • 1858 Feddersen proves with his experiments the oscillating character of spark-discharges.

  • October 1861 Phillip Reis demonstrated his "electric ear" before the Physical Society of Frankfort, Germany. Reis coined the word "telephony" in that demonstration.

  • 1865 British professor James Clerk Maxwell published a purely mathematical theory in "On a dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field".

  • 1873 Maxwell shows mathematically that electric waves could be sent over distance in a "Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism".

  • March 1875 Thomas Alva Edison experimented with "vibrator magnet" oscillating electromagnetic waves.

  • March 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made his first successful telephone experiment. Bell filed a for a patent February 14, 1876 beating Elisha Gray by only two hours.

  • 1879 David E. Hughes discovered radio waves. He possibly did make the first mobile telephone call.

  • In December 1883 Paul Nipkow had thought of a way to send a moving picture by wire

  • 1884 Temistocle Caldecchi-Onesti observed that loosely packed metallic powders are bad electricity conductors until subjected to some external forces such as electric sparks generated by the opening and closing of an electrical circuit, or the presence of inductive fields, or by electrostatic induction.

  • 1886 German scientist Heinrich Hertz calculated that electromagnetic waves could be broadcasted by a rapidly alternating current in a short antenna.

  • 1888 Hertz proves Maxwell's theories in experiments that transmitted waves in a corner of his physics classroom at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic in Berlin. He demonstrated that these are long, transverse waves that travel at the velocity of light and can be reflected, refracted, and polarized like light.

  • Before 1892 Tesla had found the theoretical basis for radio communication and in 1893 he demonstrated radio energy crossing space.

  • 1892 First automatic telephone exchange invented by Almon B Strowger entered service in Indiana, USA

  • 1894 British physicist Sir Oliver Lodge uses a device called the "coherer" (an electrical device whose function was based on a discovery made in 1890 by a French physicist, Édouard Branly) to detect the presence of radio waves and demonstrates that these waves could be used for signalling.

  • November 1894 Jagadish Chandra Bose ignited gunpowder and rang a bell at a distance using electromagnetic waves, proving that communication signals can be sent without using wires.

  • 1895 Alexander Stepanovich Popov reported sending and receiving a wireless signal across a 600 yards distance

  • 1895 Guglielmo Marconi made his first tentative wireless transmissions, at his family villa in Italy and 1896 he made his first public demonstration of wireless telegraphy

  • 1898 First commercial wireless telegram transmitted.

  • 1898 Wireless telegraphy is used for the first time in naval manoeuvres - a range of 60 miles.

  • 1899 Wireless communication between England and France.

  • December 23, 1900 Reginald Fessenden succeeds to transmit voice over radio. Fessenden said into his microphone, "One, two, three, four. Is It snowing where you are Mr. Thiessen? If so telegraph back and let me know." Thiessen replied by telegraph in Morse code that it was indeed snowing.

  • December 12, 1901 Marconi's wireless communication across the Atlantic a distance of 3500 kilometres from Cornwall, England to a receiving station on Signal Hill overlooking St. John's Harbour in Newfoundland. (possible the letter "s" in Morse code)

  • October 1902, The first Verifiable transatlantic radio transmission was made during from Poldhu, Cornwall to the Italian cruiser Carlos Alberto anchored in the harbour of Sydney, NS with Marconi aboard. The frequency employed was about 272 kHz.

  • In 1903, Valdemar Poulsen (Denmark) invented a means of producing continuous waves by "arc transmission", later used to construct high-frequency alternators for sending radio waves

  • November 16 1904 John Fleming invented the thermionic two-electrode valve (diode), it was used to sound transmission.

  • 1906 American de Lee Forest adds a third electrode to the diode (triode) and produces a sensitive receiver and amplifier. (applied for a patent on October 25, 1906)

  • 1906 Reginald Fessenden constructed a high-frequency alternator (2 kW, 100 kHz) and succeeded in transmitting the human voice much longer distance over the radio. On December 24, 1906, at 9 P.M. eastern standard time, Reginald Fessenden transmitted human voices (reading the Bible and poetry, a woman singing, a violin solo and short speech) from Brant Rock near Boston, Massachusetts to several ships at sea owned by the United Fruit Company.

  • January 13, 1910, a broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City featuring Enrico Caruso was heard 20 km away on a ship at sea.

  • 1910 Magnus Ericsson and his wife Hilda used the first "car telephone" hooking two long sticks over a pair of telephone wires and connect to an operator in the telephone exchange.

  • 1914 Marconi used the thermionic valve as a radio generator which produces a carrier wave capable of being modulated by speech and transmitted speech over 50 miles.

  • Early 1920s First police car radios and walkie-talkies in metropolitan New York area. 1921 Police car radios in Detroit; The first private radio telephone systems.

  • 1923, Zworykin demonstrated his television system before officials at Westinghouse and applied for a patent.

  • October 30, 1925, John Logie Baird of London was succesful in transmitting his first picture: the head of a dummy.

  • December 25, 1926, Kenjito Takayanagi of Tokyo used a cathode-ray tube to transmit an image of Japanese writing.

  • 1927 Philo Farnsworth demonstrates the first television for potential investors by broadcasting the image of a dollar sign

  • 1941 Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Kiesler Markey) with the help of composer George Antheil invented and patented the technology called spread spectrum.

  • 1940s and 1950s Spread Spectrum technique for military anti-jam applications

  • 1946 First mobile telephone service in St.Louis, USA introduced by AT&T (single-cell, manual operation)

  • 1948 Claude Shannon published Shannon-Hartley equation, which states that the capacity for error-free communications is limited and is both proportional to the bandwidth that the signal occupies and to the ratio of the received signal power to the received noise power.
    Capacity = Bandwidth x Log2 {1 + Signal to Noise Ratio}

  • 1949 Claude Shannon and Robert Pierce develop basic ideas of CDMA

  • December 3 1950 Sture Lauhrén made the world first cellphone call using prototype system developed by Ericsson and The Swedish Telecom

  • 1956 RAKE receiver patented

  • 1956 Swedish PTT Televerket put a full automatic mobile telephone system into operation.

  • 1962 Bell Labs built and launched the first orbiting communications satellite Telstar I.

  • June 1969 the Nordic telecommunications conference established the Nordic Mobile Telephone Group which was given the task to develop a new mobile telephone system that would be applied in all the Nordic countries.

  • 1970s Several CDMA developments for military systems (e. g. GPS)

  • April 3 1973 Motorola vice presidents Marty Cooper and John Mitchell made the first public demonstration of a call from a handheld wireless phone.

    The Analog Cellular Age

  • 1979 The first commercial mobile phone network was opened for business in Tokyo. (MCS-L1 introduced by NTT, AMPS based, 25 kHz channels)

  • 1979 Pre-commercial operation of Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) in US

  • 1981 Commercial operation of NMT450 (early September in Saudi Arabia, 1st October Sweden and week later in Denmark)

  • 1982 GSM development started by "Groupe Spécial Mobile" formed by CEPT, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations

  • 1982 INMARSAT service started

  • March 6 1983 - Motorola introduced the world's first commercial portable cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

  • October 13 1983 First commercial operation of AMPS (AT&T's Illinois Bell, Chicago)

  • 1985 C450 system in commercial operation in Germany

  • 1985 TACS system (AMPS based) in commercial operation in the UK

  • 1985 RadioCom system in commercial operation in France

  • 1985 IMT-2000 study began with the establishment of Interim Working Party 8/13 (IWP 8/13) by Decision 69 and work continued in Task Group 8/1. IMT stands for International Mobile Telecommunications and the number 2000 had three meanings. It was supposed to represent the year 2000, when the ITU hoped the system would become available, data rates of 2000 kbps and frequencies in the 2000 MHz region.

  • 1986 NMT900 system introduced in Scandinavia

  • 1987 European operators and administrators signed GSM MoU agreement and agreed on a launch date of 1 July 1991.The original French name was changed to Global System for Mobile communications.

  • 1987 - Early 1990s one UMTS research project in RACE 1, seven projects in RACE2 and fourteen projects in the ACTS Program. RACE projects were funded by Commission of European Communities (CEC). FAMOUS (Future Advanced MObile Universal Telecommunications Systems) meetings three times a year between Europe, the United States and Japan.

  • 1988 ETSI formed in Europe

  • 1986 NMT900 system introduced in Scandinavia

  • 1988 ETACS introduced in the UK

  • 1989 JTACS introduced in Japan

  • 1991 NTACS introduced in Japan

    The Digital Cellular Age

  • July 1 1991 First GSM network, Radiolinja in Finland was officially opened

  • October 1991 the first European roaming call was made between the Finnish PT and Vodafone.

  • 1991 - 1995 two CEC funded research projects called Code Division Testbed (CODIT) and Advanced Time Division Multiple Access (ATDMA) were carried out by the major European telecom manufacturers and network operators. The CODIT and ATDMA projects investigated the suitability of wideband Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) based radio access technology for 3G systems. This work was later continued in the FRAMES (Future Radio Wideband Multiple Access System) project and became the basis of the further ETSI UMTS work until decisions were taken in 1998.

  • February 1992 World Radio Conference in Malaga (WRC-92) allocated frequencies for future UMTS use. Frequencies 1885 - 2025 and 2110 - 2200 MHz were identified for IMT-2000 use.

  • 1992 All major European operators start commercial operation of GSM networks

  • 1992 Japanise Digital Cellular (JDC) system introduced

  • 1993 First DCS1800 (now called GSM1800) system in commercial operation in UK

  • 1993 IS-95 CDMA standard finalised

  • 1994 Commercial operation of D-AMPS (IS-54) in US started

  • 1994 Commercial operation of PDC in Japan started by NTT

  • 1994 Mobile Green Paper (550kb) identified the evolution towards personal communications.

  • February 1995 The UMTS Task Force was established, "The Road to UMTS" report.

  • 1995 Commercial operation of N-CDMA system (IS-95) in Hong Kong/Korea

  • 1995 PCS1900 (D-AMPS in 1900 MHz band, IS-136)

  • December 1996 The UMTS Forum was established at the inaugural meeting, held in Zurich, Switzerland. Since 1996, the planned "European" WCDMA standard has been known as the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).

  • June 1997 the UMTS Forum produced its first report entitled "A regulatory Framework for UMTS" Read the Executive Summary.

  • October 1997 ERC decided on UMTS core band.

  • January 1998 ETSI SMG meeting in Paris both W-CDMA and TD-CDMA proposals were combined to UMTS air interface specification.

  • June 1998 Terrestrial air interface proposals (UTRAN, WCDMA(s), CDMA2000(s), EDGE, EP-DECT, TD-SCDMA) were handed into ITU-R

  • September 1998 the first call using a Nokia WCDMA terminal in DoCoMo's trial network was completed at Nokia's R&D unit near Tokyo in Japan.

  • December 4 1998 ETSI SMG, T1P1, ARIB TTC, TTA created 3GPP in Copenhagen, Denmark

  • December 7 and 8 1998 the first meetings of the 3GPP Technical Specification Groups in Sophia Antipolis, France

  • December 14 1998 The decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers requires that Member States take all necessary measures to allow the coordinated and progressive introduction of UMTS services by 1st January 2002 at the latest

  • February 1999 Nokia Oyj said that it has completed what it claims to be the first WCDMA call through the public switched telephone network in the world. The calls were made from Nokia's test network in Finland using a WCDMA terminal, WCDMA base station subsystem and Nokia GSM Mobile switching centers connected to the PSTN.

  • March 16 1999 Finland gave out the world's first 3G mobile technology licenses. Four licenses awarded to Sonera, Radiolinja, Telia and Suomen Kolmegee. Technically some operators in USA and elsewhere already had the licenses and frequencies to operate third generation networks.

  • March 1999 ITU approves radio interfaces for third generation mobile systems in the meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil. Also Ericsson and Qualcomm agreed to share access to each other's technology ending a two-year patent dispute.

  • April 27 and 28, 1999 Lucent Technologies, Ericsson and NEC announced that they have been chosen by NTT DoCoMo to supply W-CDMA equipment for NTT DoCoMo's next-generation wireless commercial network in Japan. This was the first announced WCDMA 3G infrastructure deal.

  • 1999 World Radio Conference (WRC-99) handled spectrum and regulatory issues for advanced mobile communications applications in the context of IMT-2000. The aim was to identify additional frequency bands to satisfy market demand by 2005-2010. World wide roaming issues were also discussed.

  • December 1999 in Nice ETSI Standardisation finished for UMTS Release 1999 specifications both for FDD and TDD (spec version 3.y.z).

  • March 29, 2000 Siemens makes world's first 3G/UMTS call over TD-CDMA (TDD).

  • April 2000 World Radio Conference (WRC-2000) finalises the extension of the UMTS/IMT-2000 band.

  • Mid 2000 First commercial GPRS networks launched. Several operators and network vendors claim to be the first.

  • July 2000 responsibility for maintenance and development of the GSM specifications was transferred from ETSI TC SMG to 3GPP

  • October 1, 2000 SK Telecom of Korea launches the first commercial cdma2000 network

  • January 1, 2001 was originally planned for first commercial networks operational. No 3G networks were operating in January 1, 2001.

  • March 2001 in Palm Springs 3GPP approves UMTS Release 4 specification (spec version 4.y.z).

  • April 17, 2001 Ericsson and Vodafone UK claim to have made the world's first WCDMA voice call over commercial network.

  • June 28, 2001 NTT DoCoMo launched a trial 3G service; an area-specific information service for i-mode. NTT DoCoMo has announced that it definitely plans to hit its October 1st target for a full commercial launch.

  • September 25, 2001 NTT DoCoMo announced that three 3G phone models are commercially available.

    The High Speed Cellular Age

  • October 1, 2001 NTT DoCoMo launched the first commercial WCDMA 3G mobile network.

  • November 1, 2001 Nokia and AT&T Wireless complete first live 3G EDGE call.

  • December 1, 2001 Telenor launched in Norway the first commercial UMTS network. UMTS terminals were expected to be available 3Q 2002.

  • December 19, 2001 Nortel Networks and Vodafone in Spain (formerly Airtel Movil) completed first live international UMTS 3GPP standard roaming calls between Madrid (Vodafone network) and Tokyo (J-Phone network). Calls were made with a QUALCOMM MSM5200 chipset-based handset and J-Phone SIM technology.

  • January 28, 2002 SK Telecom in Korea launched the world's first commercial CDMA2000 1xEV-DO.

  • February 8, 2002 Nokia claims to have made the first end-to-end 3G WCDMA standard level 3GPP Release 99 June 2001 packet data calls between its commercial network infrastructure and terminals in its laboratories in Finland. The Nokia 3G WCDMA network and terminal used were based on the commercial version.

  • February 18, 2002 Motorola unveils the company’s first GSM/GPRS and 3G/UMTS product, the A820. Motorola is "one of the first vendors to introduce a dual-mode enabled UMTS mobile phone"

  • February 20, 2002 Nokia and Omnitel Vodafone claims to have made the first rich call in an end-to-end All-IP mobile network at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France.

  • March 14, 2002 (Freeze date) UMTS Release 5 (the initial target date was December 2001)

  • April 30, 2002 The figures released by the Ministry of Transportation & Communications (MOTC) show that the number of mobile phone users in Taiwan reached 22.6 million at the end of April 2002, representing 100.7 percent of the population in the Taiwan area, meaning that there is more than one phone for each person in Taiwan.

  • September 24, 2002 Ericsson announces the first live, dual mode WCDMA/GSM calls with seamless handover between the two modes and high data rate in live networks

  • September 25, 2002 Mobilkom Austria launches "Europe's First UMTS-Network" when Boris Nemsic CEO of Mobilkom "video-phoned" the Austrian politican Waltraud Klasnic. [see December 1, 2001 note above]

  • September 26, 2002 Nokia introduces the "world’s first handset [6650] for WCDMA [UMTS] and GSM networks".

  • October 1, 2002 Qualcomm announces world's first Bluetooth WCDMA (UMTS) and GSM Voice Calls.

  • October 3, 2002 Nokia and Vodafone Omnitel claims to "have carried out the world's first VoIP call completed in a 3GPP release 4 compliant network that transports circuit-switched voice and data calls through an IP backbone".

  • October 10, 2002 Nortel Networks and Qualcomm claim to "completed the industry's first UMTS voice and data calls demonstrating mobility across commercial cell sites using live 1900 MHz radio spectrum, Qualcomm chipsets in commercial-form-factor handsets, and a live, end-to-end 3GPP UMTS network from Nortel Networks".

  • October 17, 2002 Nortel Networks claim to have "demonstrated the world’s first UMTS calls using an IP-based UTRAN" using form factor handsets and an IP backbone based on Nortel Networks Optical Ethernet equipment. (Announced on October 22, 2002)

  • October 31, 2002 Ericsson announced the milestone of 10 000 commercial UMTS/WCDMA macro base stations shipped. Nokia is assumed to have shipped about the same amount.

  • November 18, 2002 Nokia introduces the world’s first GSM/EDGE 3G mobile phone; Nokia 6200.

  • November 29, 2002 Nokia and Vodafone Omnitel carry out 3G WCDMA call handover to commercial GSM network

  • January 31, 2003 Ericsson conducts the world's first IPv6 over 3G UMTS/WCDMA network demonstration

  • February 10, 2003 LG introduced the world's first dual band, dual mode phone for both CDMA and WCDMA

  • February 2003, Korean mobile operator KTF announced plans to begin transmitting TV pictures direct to 3G mobile phones via the CDMA2000 1xEV-DO system

  • June 9, 2003, Samsung Electronics released mobile phone, SCH-X820, with colour TV function

  • July 1, 2003, Cingular Wireless announced the world's first commercial deployment of wireless services using Enhanced Datarate for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology.

  • August 27, 2003, Nokia announced that the world's first cdma2000 1xEV-DV high-speed packet data phone call, achieving a peak data rate of 3.09 Mbps, was completed in San Diego.

  • March 1, 2004, Nortel Networks announced that it has completed the industry’s first 3GPP-compliant UMTS Assisted Global Positioning System (A-GPS) calls at 2100 and 1900 Mhz using mobile equipment provided by Qualcomm and Motorola, and reference satellite data provided by Global Locate.

  • October 13, 2004, Nokia and TeliaSonera Finland successfully conduct world's first EDGE-WCDMA 3G packet data handover in commercial network.

  • December 16, 2004 (Freeze date) UMTS Release 6 (the initial target date was June 2003)

  • February 14, 2005, Ericsson demonstrates 9 Mbps with WCDMA, HSDPA phase 2

  • May 10, 2005, Ericsson and 3 Scandinavia demonstrates 1.5 Mbps enhanced uplink in live WCDMA system

  • August 7, 2006, Ericsson is the first to complete WCDMA calls on all 3GPP-defined frequency bands

    The Future

  • The decision of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers dated 14 December 1998 requires that Member States take all necessary measures to allow the coordinated and progressive introduction of UMTS services by 1st January 2002 at the latest. The EU's suggestion is that operators must cover 80% of the national population by the year 2005.

  • 2005 (original target) UMTS service will be world wide (?).

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