2000 33¢ Cellular Phones
Celebrate the Century – 1990s
Issue Date: May 2, 2000
City: Monterey, CA
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11 ½
The basic idea behind the modern mobile telephone network was proposed in 1947, but it took a long time for technology to catch up with the concept. The broadcast of radio messages over airwaves is controlled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which slowed cellular phone development for many years.
A cell phone is actually a sophisticated two-way radio. In 1947, AT&T asked the FCC to allocate more radio frequencies for mobile telephone service. Providing more frequencies would motivate companies to conduct the needed technological research. The FCC denied the request and limited the frequencies, which at that time allowed just 23 mobile telephone conversations to occur simultaneously in the same service area.
Even though a huge consumer demand for mobile telephones existed, the FCC didn’t reconsider its position until 1968. The number of frequencies was increased, freeing up the airwaves for more mobile phones. In 1982, the FCC authorized commercial cell service in the U.S.
Cellular telephone use skyrocketed during the 1990s. Mobile telephone technology is becoming more advanced every day. Cellular companies now offer digital service, which provides better call quality than the traditional analog technology.