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This article was published on April 17, 2013


    Call history: Witness the first commercial cellular phone call being made in 1983

    Call history: Witness the first commercial cellular phone call being made in 1983 Image by: Digital Vision.
    Josh Ong
    Story by

    Josh Ong

    Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

    National Geographic has posted a fascinating account of the first commercial cellular phone call being placed in 1983.

    The spot features an interview with Bob Barnett, who served as president of regional telecom Ameritech and placed the call.

    “We’re trying to envision, will people walk down the street and talk to themselves on a phone?…We started practicing and we said, “Yeah, we think it would,”” Barnett recalled.

    AT&T had passed on the cellular technology at first because it didn’t expect it to ever accumulate more than a million subscribers. Yeah, oops.

    The first commercial call was placed on October 13, 1983 in the parking lot of Soldier Field in Chicago, with Alexander Graham Bell’s great-grandson picking up from Germany.

    It’s amazing how accurate Barnett’s vision of the future turned out to be – after all, most of us do walk down the street talking to ourselves on the phone.

    Related: 38 years ago today the first mobile phone call was made

    Image credit: Digital Vision