Micheal Faraday a talented chemist begins researching the possibility that space can conduct electricity. His research starts the wheels turning for many other 19th century scientists. At the time, many of them were referred to as “crackpots”.
A Virginia Dentist/Scientist, Dr. Mahlon Loomis, develops a method of communicating through the earth’s atmosphere by using an electrical conductor. He does this by flying two kites, that are rigged with copper screens and wires, which are connected to the ground on two separate mountains about 18 miles apart. He later received a grant from the U.S. Congress for $50,000. (A fairly large chunk of change for 1865)
The first trans-Atlantic telegraph is built (not much to do with cell phones, but a major advancement in communication nonetheless)
The Police Department in Detroit, Mich. begins installing mobile radios, operating around 2 MHz, in their squad cars. They encounter many problems such as overcrowding on the channels and terrible interference
The U.S. Congress creates the Federal Communications Commission. They decide who gets to use certain radio frequencies. Most channels are reserved for emergency use and for the government. Radio is still a baby.
By now, the mobile radios are able to operate at 30 to 40 MHz and become much more common between police departments, and the wealthy. Several private companies and organizations begin using these same radios for personal gain.
The first mobile-radio-telephone service is established in St. Louis, Miss. The system is comprised of six channels that add up to 150 MHz. The project is approved by the FCC, but due to massive interference, the equipment barely works.
AT&T comes out with the first radio-car-phones that can be used only on the highway between New York and Boston; they are known as push-to-talk phones. The system operates at frequencies of about 35 to 44 MHz, but once again there is a massive amount of interference in the system. AT&T declares the project a failure.
The FCC authorizes the widespread use of many separate radio channels to other carriers. They are know as Radio Common Carriers (RCC) and are the first link between mobile phones and the telephone, rather than just radio to radio. The RCC's are the first step toward the cellular phone industry, which is were designed more for profit than for the general public
The first real car phones, not car radios, come into play accross the United States. Although, the system is still using push-to-talk phones, it is an improved version that acctually works. However, the units are big and bulky, and require a personal radio operator to switch the calls. A simular system appeared in Sweden a few years earlier.