Cell Phone Industry Hits 25

Happy 25th Birthday, cell phone industry—you don’t look a day over 24. CNET News reports on how it all started with the Motorola DynaTAC (pictured), the first commercial cell phone. It was a 2.5-pound behemoth that cost $3,995, plus $50 a month to activate service, plus 40 cents per minute at peak hours and 24 cents per minute at off-peak hours.

“What a difference 25 years makes. In 1984, a year after Ameritech Mobile launched its service, the company had signed up about 12,000 subscribers,” the article said. “Today, AT&T, the largest mobile operator in the U.S. has 72.9 million customers.”

The report goes on to compare the original cell phone to the current, $199 iPhone 3G, and points out that as of June, there were about 262.7 million mobile subscribers in the U.S. corresponding to 84 percent of the population, according to the latest stats from the wireless industry trade group CTIA.