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.
Image credit: Digital Vision