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Marconi Museum

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The idea of using the radio to connect vehicles or people in motion is as old as the radio itself. But for decades only the military and merchant marine and, a bit later, the big transport companies, utilized the radio with this scope; it was much more difficult to offer radio mobile service in the private sector at an accessible cost.

It is the 1980's when “cellular” telephony is launched in the USA and in Northern Europe (Scandinavian countries). This kind of system is based on a subdivision of the territory into “small cells”, similar to those of a bee hive, each of which is equipped with its own transceiver station. The user calling connects to the closest “small cell”, that retransmits to one at destination or to a telephone switching office, and “passes” the call to the next small cell when the user moves out of his range of activity. In this way it is possible to simultaneously manage thousands of calls.

From Northern Europe mobile telephony spread to the entire continent. In the USA, after a slow beginning (so much so that AT&T, after having launched it, abandoned the market in 1984), it had an equally intense growth rate. Today the first analogical system of cellular telephony (ETACS) has basically been supplanted by a digital system, extremely more versatile, the GSM; and new more powerful systems are already being experimented. The cellular telephone, in addition to vocal messages, also operates with written messages, consents faxes to be sent and, in more advanced models, allows Internet connection.



















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