Happy birthday, dear Global System for Mobile Communications! 20 years ago today, on July 1 1991, the world’s first GSM call was made by Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri. The historic call used Nokia gear on GSM’s original 900MHz band. Today GSM is all grown up and ruling the world — connecting 1.5 billion people in 212 countries and serving 80% of the planet’s mobile market. GSM gave us a number of firsts. It was the first fully digital cellular system using TDMA to cram more information into less spectrum and provide better sounding, more reliable calls using less power. It introduced the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), the idea of switching handsets at will (something carriers have sought to subvert by locking phones), and the reality of international roaming. Short Messaging Service (SMS) was first launched on GSM networks, along with packet data (GPRS and later EDGE), which made internet access practical on mobile devices. Eventually, GSM expanded to the 400, 800, 1800 and 1900MHz bands and evolved into WDCMA-based UMTS (3G) and later HSPA and HSPA+, followed byLTE (4G) networks. So next time you’re at the coffee shop sipping on that latte while uploading that video to YouTube at 10Mbps using your LTE phone, remember to be thankful for that first GSM call 20 years ago — that’s when the mobile revolution really started.

Nokia is a prime mover in digital standards

On July 1, 1991, Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri made the world’s first GSM call, using Nokia equipment.

It was an appropriate choice. From the start, Nokia was one of the key developers of GSM technology. Its expertise in the new standard, coupled with the deregulation of European telecommunications markets in the 1980s and 1990s, was to be the cornerstone of its international success.

What is GSM?

The Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) was adopted in 1987 as the European standard for digital mobile technology. This second generation mobile technology could carry data as well as voice traffic.

GSM’s high-quality voice calls, easy international roaming and support for new services like text messaging (SMS) laid the foundations for a worldwide boom in mobile phone use.

Nokia was in the vanguard of GSM’s development, delivering its first GSM network to the Finnish company Radiolinja in 1989. Nokia launched its first digital handheld GSM phone, the Nokia 1011, in 1992.

By the end of the 1990s, Nokia had supplied GSM systems to more than 90 operators all over the world.

Did you know?

Nokia was the first manufacturer to make a series of handheld portable phones for all major digital standards

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/01/gsm-turns-20-today-still-rocking-the-world/

Source: http://www.nokia.com/about-nokia/company/story-of-nokia/the-move-to-mobile/first-gsm-call