1980s cell phones - how costly were the minutes

Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

Pic:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/gear/entertainment/2005-04-10-brick-cell-phone_x.htm

Does anyone remember how costly the minutes were on the early
commercial cell phones of the '80s, just out of curiosity?
12 answers Last reply
More about 1980s cell phones costly minutes
  1. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    go to www.pusikaru.com


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  2. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500
    car mounted unit with a shoebox size unit in the trunk and the control
    head bolted to the center console. I also had a brick phone for a short
    while before the MicroTAC (the first flip phone) was released. Back
    then, in Los Angeles, the per minute price was 45 cents/min PLUS long
    distance of 25 cents/min for LD calls on top of a monthly fee of $45
    which included NO minutes. If you were roaming, which usually meant
    anywhere outside of the metro area, the price was either 95 cents/min
    for a different carrier or "only" 69 cents/min if it was your same
    carrier PLUS 25 cents/min long distance for both incoming and outgoing
    calls.
    Cellphones were for those who had a true business use and a company
    willing to foot the bill. They were considered quite a status symbol and
    you knew if a car had one from the little pigtail antenna mounted on the
    rear window. Wannabes started installing just the stick-on antennas so
    people would think they were cool/wealthy.
    Given the ravages of inflation over the last 20 years, those prices
    would be almost double in today's dollars. Sure makes today's prices
    look good!
    Prior to AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service) which was the first
    cellular system, there was MPS which had just 11 frequencies available.
    The phone would scan for an available frequency and try to grab one when
    you wanted to make a call. Each frequency handled one call at a time -
    that's right, a grand total of 11 people (if all the frequencies were
    active) could make a mobile call in a given market at one time!


    From:Tim923
    t923_1@yahoo.com

    > Pic:
    > http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/gear/entertainment/2005-04-10-brick-cell-phone_x.htm
    >
    > Does anyone remember how costly the minutes were on the early
    > commercial cell phones of the '80s, just out of curiosity?
  3. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    >Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500

    Wow, hilarious. Did the brick phone work well? Could you walk with
    it all over the city without it going in and out? How well did it
    work on trips across the states and thru rural areas?
  4. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    >Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500

    Just out of curiosity, would one of those "brick" Motorolas from '84
    still work today if one paid for a plan?
  5. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    The brick phone worked so well that, believe it or not, they're still in
    demand today (just check ebay!). The best thing about them was that you
    could use them to hammer nails and still get calls. They were quite the
    status symbol in their time and you could proudly make it the
    centerpiece of your table at a restaurant. Service was pretty good given
    the analog system it worked on. I pretty much limited my use to the
    Honolulu business districts where using a car just wasn't necessary most
    of the time.
    When in LA, I used my car phone. In airports, calling cards from
    payphones were the order of the day as cellphones were just too costly
    to use when a landline option was handy. Also, anybody with a Radio
    Shack scanner could listen to both sides of a cell call so security was
    non-existent.
    When the MicroTAC "Communicator" came out, I was the first to jump on
    it and replaced my carphone with a cradle for the flip phone. Everybody
    thought that was the coolest thing on earth and that too became THE
    fashion accessory. Black was the "Executive" model color and all others,
    including mine, were charcoal. The original MicroTACs came with a now
    unheard of 3 year warranty.
    Then came the StarTAC and again, I was all over it like a new suit - I
    just always have to have the smallest phone available. I remember
    getting a call at a charity dinner I was attending and having everyone
    gather around to check out my new phone. For 10 seconds I felt like
    Bond - James Bond. It was an unexpected result to say the least.
    You know the rest of the story - the v60/v60i, then the v600 and now
    the Razr which is the first phone I've been happy with since giving up
    the StarTAC.


    From:Tim923
    t923_1@yahoo.com

    >> Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500
    >
    > Wow, hilarious. Did the brick phone work well? Could you walk with
    > it all over the city without it going in and out? How well did it
    > work on trips across the states and thru rural areas?
  6. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    You could still use it with carriers that support the old analog service
    such as Verizon, Cingular and other original 800 MHz licensees. Not
    sure, but I think analog will be gone within a few years.

    From:Tim923
    t923_1@yahoo.com

    >> Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500
    >
    > Just out of curiosity, would one of those "brick" Motorolas from '84
    > still work today if one paid for a plan?
  7. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    >You could still use it with carriers that support the old analog service
    >such as Verizon, Cingular and other original 800 MHz licensees. Not
    >sure, but I think analog will be gone within a few years.

    Did anyone in 1984 guess how cheap and widespread cell phones would be
    in 2005? Not even certain sci-fi movies from the '80s and early '90s
    seemed to guess it.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    There was already talk of digital with discussions about CDMA vs TDMA
    and how that would help meet the demand but I don't think anyone guessed
    that they would become as pervasive as they have or that they would be
    cheap enough to give to kids. For a company to give somebody a
    cellphone meant that they were a REALLY valuable and important person -
    sort of like a key to the executive washroom (a perk that is totally
    gone now).

    From:Tim923
    t923_1@yahoo.com

    >> You could still use it with carriers that support the old analog
    >> service such as Verizon, Cingular and other original 800 MHz
    >> licensees. Not sure, but I think analog will be gone within a few
    >> years.
    >
    > Did anyone in 1984 guess how cheap and widespread cell phones would be
    > in 2005? Not even certain sci-fi movies from the '80s and early '90s
    > seemed to guess it.
  9. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    Tim923 wrote:
    >>Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500
    >
    > Just out of curiosity, would one of those "brick" Motorolas from '84
    > still work today if one paid for a plan?

    I don't think anyone will activate an analog-only phone anymore. OK,
    maybe possibly in Alaska. If you have one from years back still
    activated, it will still work fine. I retired my Motorola 550 flip just
    last year.
  10. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    "BruceR" <brNOSPAM@hawaii.com> wrote in message
    news:E3W7e.4321$u95.2633@twister.socal.rr.com...
    > Oh yes, I remember the AMPS days well. My first cellphone was a $3500
    >
    snip


    > Prior to AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service) which was the first
    > cellular system, there was MPS which had just 11 frequencies available.

    That was IMTS, not MPS. It stood for "Improved Mobile Telephone System",
    and operated in the VHF frequency range - 152 - 154 MHz.

    Previous to IMTS, was MTS, a 11 channel system that did not scan for an
    available channel. The user had to select a unused frequency.

    > The phone would scan for an available frequency and try to grab one when
    > you wanted to make a call. Each frequency handled one call at a time -
    > that's right, a grand total of 11 people (if all the frequencies were
    > active) could make a mobile call in a given market at one time!
    >
    >
    >
    > From:Tim923
    > t923_1@yahoo.com
    >
    > > Pic:
    > >
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/gear/entertainment/2005-04-10-brick-cell-phone_x.htm
    > >
    > > Does anyone remember how costly the minutes were on the early
    > > commercial cell phones of the '80s, just out of curiosity?
    >
    >
  11. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    On Fri, 15 Apr 2005 21:34:33 -0400, Tim923 <t923_1@yahoo.com> wrote:

    >Did anyone in 1984 guess how cheap and widespread cell phones would be
    >in 2005? Not even certain sci-fi movies from the '80s and early '90s
    >seemed to guess it.

    Hell's Bells, Heinlein wrote about saddlephones (BETWEEN PLANETS) and implanted
    phones (PUPPET MASTERS) in the '50's.
  12. Archived from groups: alt.cellular.motorola (More info?)

    I remember when everybody call wireless phones mobile phones. I heard
    the term cell phone from time to time. It was not until 96 did I hear
    the term cell phone all the time. The big 1 Watt brick phones or 3
    watt car phones are probably becoming a collectors item.
    Back in the day of AMPS you could get 60-70 callers on one tower.
    Today in digital 500-1200 callers per tower depending on digital tech.
    and ammount of wireless spectrum in MHz.


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