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Birth of Cell Phones

October 13, 2014

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Profile America — Monday, October 13th. With the national median age being 37 years, a bare majority of the country's population can remember life in what might strike young people as a bleak, dark and difficult age. Practically unimaginable today, there was a time when the ubiquitous cell phone didn't exist. Around 45 years ago, Amtrak offered a version of cellular technology, using payphones on its Metroliners. The first modern cell phone was introduced on this date in 1983 in Chicago. It was demonstrated in a call to Alexander Graham Bell's grandson, in Berlin, Germany at the time. In 1990, there were just over 5 million people in the country with cell phones. By 2000, that number was nearly 110 million. Now, 89 percent of American households have cell phones. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at

Amtrak and cell phones
Early cell phone service
Cell phone demonstration call
Growth in cell phone usage t.1148
Recent household cell phone data p. 10

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: October 01, 2014