Definition

cellular telephone (mobile telephone)

Cellular telephone, sometimes called mobile telephone, is a type of short-wave analog or digital telecommunication in which a subscriber has a wireless connection from a mobile phone to a relatively nearby transmitter. The transmitter's span of coverage is called a cell. As the cellular telephone user moves from one cell or area of coverage to another, the telephone is effectively passed on to the local cell transmitter.

A cellular telephone is not to be confused with a cordless telephone (which is simply a phone with a very short wireless connection to a local phone outlet).

The first cellular telephone for commercial use was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1983. The phone, a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, weighed 2 pounds, offered just a half-hour of talk time for every recharging and sold for $3,995.

This was last updated in June 2013

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