mobile phone

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mobile phone
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{{Redirect|Cell phone|the film|Cell Phone (film)}}{{Redirect|Handphone|the film|Handphone (film)}}{{for|the mobile personal computer|Smartphone}}{{pp-semi-protected|small=yes}}{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2018}}(File:Mobile phone evolution.jpg|thumb|upright|Evolution of mobile phones, to an early smartphone)A mobile phone, cell phone, cellphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone that can make and receive calls over a radio frequency link while the user is moving within a telephone service area. The radio frequency link establishes a connection to the switching systems of a mobile phone operator, which provides access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Modern mobile telephone services use a cellular network architecture, and, therefore, mobile telephones are called cellular telephones or cell phones, in North America. In addition to telephony, 2000s-era mobile phones support a variety of other services, such as text messaging, MMS, email, Internet access, short-range wireless communications (infrared, Bluetooth), business applications, video games, and digital photography. Mobile phones offering only those capabilities are known as feature phones; mobile phones which offer greatly advanced computing capabilities are referred to as smartphones.The first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. MitchellJohn F. Mitchell BiographyWho invented the cell phone? and Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing c. 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs).JOURNAL, Heeks, Richard, 2008, Meet Marty Cooper – the inventor of the mobile phone, BBC, 41, 6,weblink 26–33, 10.1109/MC.2008.192, In 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) launched the world's first cellular network in Japan.WEB,weblink Communities Dominate Brands: Celebrating 30 Years of Mobile Phones,, 13 November 2009, 7 September 2018, In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first commercially available handheld mobile phone. From 1983 to 2014, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions grew to over seven billion—enough to provide one for every person on Earth.NEWS,weblink Mobile penetration, Almost 40 percent of the world's population – 2.7 billion people – are online. The developing world is home to about 826 million female Internet users and 980 million male Internet users. The developed world is home to about 475 million female Internet users and 483 million male Internet users., 9 July 2010, In first quarter of 2016, the top smartphone developers worldwide were Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, and smartphone sales represented 78 percent of total mobile phone sales.WEB,weblink Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Grew 3.9 Percent in First Quarter of 2016, Gartner, 21 May 2016, For feature phones (or "dumbphones") {{as of|2016|lc=y}}, the largest were Samsung, Nokia, and Alcatel.WEB,weblink Nokia Captured 9% Feature Phone Marketshare Worldwide in 2016,, 24 February 2017, 7 September 2018,


File:2007Computex e21Forum-MartinCooper.jpg|thumb|upright|Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first publicized handheld mobile phone call on a prototype DynaTAC model on 3 April 1973. This is a reenactment in 2007.]]A handheld mobile radio telephone service was envisioned in the early stages of radio engineering. In 1917, Finnish inventor Eric Tigerstedt filed a patent for a "pocket-size folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone". Early predecessors of cellular phones included analog radio communications from ships and trains. The race to create truly portable telephone devices began after World War II, with developments taking place in many countries. The advances in mobile telephony have been traced in successive "generations", starting with the early zeroth-generation (0G) services, such as Bell System's Mobile Telephone Service and its successor, the Improved Mobile Telephone Service. These 0G systems were not cellular, supported few simultaneous calls, and were very expensive.File:DynaTAC8000X.jpg|thumb|left|upright=.5|The Motorola DynaTACMotorola DynaTACThe first handheld cellular mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing {{convert|2|kg|lbs}}. The first commercial automated cellular network (1G) analog was launched in Japan by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1979. This was followed in 1981 by the simultaneous launch of the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 22 October 2008, Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology,, 29 July 2009, Several other countries then followed in the early to mid-1980s. These first-generation (1G) systems could support far more simultaneous calls but still used analog cellular technology. In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first commercially available handheld mobile phone.In 1991, the second-generation (2G) digital cellular technology was launched in Finland by Radiolinja on the GSM standard. This sparked competition in the sector as the new operators challenged the incumbent 1G network operators.Ten years later, in 2001, the third generation (3G) was launched in Japan by NTT DoCoMo on the WCDMA standard.WEB, UMTS World,weblink History of UMTS and 3G development,, 29 July 2009, This was followed by 3.5G, 3G+ or turbo 3G enhancements based on the high-speed packet access (HSPA) family, allowing UMTS networks to have higher data transfer speeds and capacity.By 2009, it had become clear that, at some point, 3G networks would be overwhelmed by the growth of bandwidth-intensive applications, such as streaming media.WEB,weblink Capacity Limit Problem in 3G Networks, Fahd Ahmad Saeed, Purdue School of Engineering, 23 April 2010, Consequently, the industry began looking to data-optimized fourth-generation technologies, with the promise of speed improvements up to ten-fold over existing 3G technologies. The first two commercially available technologies billed as 4G were the WiMAX standard, offered in North America by Sprint, and the LTE standard, first offered in Scandinavia by TeliaSonera.5G is a technology and term used in research papers and projects to denote the next major phase in mobile telecommunication standards beyond the 4G/IMT-Advanced standards. The term 5G is not officially used in any specification or official document yet made public by telecommunication companies or standardization bodies such as 3GPP, WiMAX Forum or ITU-R. New standards beyond 4G are currently being developed by standardization bodies, but they are at this time seen as under the 4G umbrella, not for a new mobile generation.



(File:Active mobile broadband subscriptions 2007-2014.svg|thumb|upright=1.6|Active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.WEB,weblink Statistics, ITU, )Smartphones have a number of distinguishing features. The International Telecommunication Union measures those with Internet connection, which it calls Active Mobile-Broadband subscriptions (which includes tablets, etc.). In the developed world, smartphones have now overtaken the usage of earlier mobile systems. However, in the developing world, they account for around 50% of mobile telephony.

Feature phone

Feature phone is a term typically used as a retronym to describe mobile phones which are limited in capabilities in contrast to a modern smartphone. Feature phones typically provide voice calling and text messaging functionality, in addition to basic multimedia and Internet capabilities, and other services offered by the user's wireless service provider. A feature phone has additional functions over and above a basic mobile phone which is only capable of voice calling and text messaging.WEB,weblink feature phone Definition from PC Magazine Encyclopedia,, Todd Hixon, Two Weeks With A Dumb Phone, Forbes, 13 November 2012 Feature phones and basic mobile phones tend to use a proprietary, custom-designed software and user interface. By contrast, smartphones generally use a mobile operating system that often shares common traits across devices.

{{anchor|Kosher phone}}Kosher phone

There are Orthodox Jewish religious restrictions which, by some interpretations, standard mobile telephones overstep. To deal with this problem, some rabbinical organizations have recommended that phones with text-messaging capability not be used by children.WEB,weblink Kosher Phones For Britain's Orthodox Jews, Public Radio International, Phones with restricted features are known as kosher phones and have rabbinical approval for use in Israel and elsewhere by observant Orthodox Jews. Although these phones are intended to prevent immodesty, some vendors report good sales to adults who prefer the simplicity of the devices. Some phones are approved for use by essential workers (such as health, security, and public service workers) on the sabbath, even though the use of any electrical device is generally prohibited during this time.WEB,weblink Introducing: A 'Kosher Phone' Permitted on Shabbat, Arutz Sheva,


Mobile phones communicate with cell towers that are placed to give coverage across a telephone service area which is divided up into 'cells'. Each cell uses a different set of frequencies from neighbouring cells, and will typically be covered by 3 towers placed at different locations. The cell towers are usually interconnected to each other and the phone network and the internet by wired connections. Due to bandwidth limitations each cell will have a maximum number of cell phones it can handle at once. The cells are therefore sized depending on the expected usage density, and may be much smaller in cities. In that case much lower transmitter powers are used to avoid broadcasting beyond the cell.As a phone moves around, a phone will "hand off"- automatically disconnect and reconnect to the tower that gives the best reception.Additionally, short-range Wi-Fi infrastructure is often used by smartphones as much as possible as it offloads traffic from cell networks on to local area networks.


The common components found on all phones are:
  • A CPU, the processor of phones.
  • A battery, providing the power source for the phone functions.
  • An input mechanism to allow the user to interact with the phone. These are a keypad for feature phones and touch screens for most smartphones.
  • A display which echoes the user's typing, and displays text messages, contacts, and more.
  • Speakers for sound.
  • SIM cards and R-UIM cards.
Low-end mobile phones are often referred to as feature phones and offer basic telephony. Handsets with more advanced computing ability through the use of native software applications are known as smartphones.

Central processing unit

Mobile phones have central processing units (CPUs), similar to those in computers, but optimised to operate in low power environments.Mobile CPU performance depends not only on the clock rate (generally given in multiples of hertz)WEB
, CPU Frequency
, CPU World Glossary
, CPU World
, 25 March 2008
, 1 January 2010, but also the memory hierarchy also greatly affects overall performance. Because of these problems, the performance of mobile phone CPUs is often more appropriately given by scores derived from various standardized tests to measure the real effective performance in commonly used applications.


One of the main characteristics of phones is the screen. Depending on the device's type and design, the screen fills most or nearly all of the space on a device's front surface. Many smartphone displays have an aspect ratio of (16:9), but taller aspect ratios became more common in 2017.Screen sizes are measured in diagonal inches; feature phones generally have screen sizes below 3.5 inches. Phones with screens larger than 5.2 inches are often called "phablets." Smartphones with screens over 4.5 inches in size are commonly difficult to use with only a single hand, since most thumbs cannot reach the entire screen surface; they may need to be shifted around in the hand, held in one hand and manipulated by the other, or used in place with both hands. Due to design advances, some modern smartphones with large screen sizes and "edge-to-edge" designs have compact builds that improve their ergonomics, while the shift to taller aspect ratios have resulted in phones that have larger screen sizes whilst maintaining the ergonomics associated with smaller 16:9 displays.WEB, Don't call it a phablet: the 5.5" Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is narrower than many 5.2" devices,weblink PhoneArena, 3 April 2017, WEB, We're gonna need Pythagoras' help to compare screen sizes in 2017,weblink The Verge, 3 April 2017, WEB, The Samsung Galaxy S8 will change the way we think about display sizes,weblink The Verge, Vox Media, 3 April 2017, Liquid-crystal displays are the most common; others are IPS, LED, OLED, and AMOLED displays. Some displays are integrated with pressure-sensitive digitizers, such as those developed by Wacom and Samsung,JOURNAL, Ward, J. R., Phillips, M. J., 1987-04-01, Digitizer Technology: Performance Characteristics and the Effects on the User Interface,weblink IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 7, 4, 31–44, 10.1109/MCG.1987.276869, 0272-1716, and Apple's "3D Touch" system.


In sound, smartphones and feature phones vary little. Some audio-quality enhancing features, such as Voice over LTE and HD Voice, have appeared and are often available on newer smartphones. Sound quality can remain a problem due to the design of the phone, the quality of the cellular network and compression algorithms used in long distance calls.WEB,weblink Why Mobile Voice Quality Still Stinks—and How to Fix It, Jeff Hecht,, WEB,weblink Why Is Cell Phone Call Quality So Terrible?, Elena Malykhina,, Audio quality can be improved using a VoIP application over WiFi.WEB,weblink What's the Best Mobile VoIP App?, Alan Henry, Gawker Media, Lifehacker, Cellphones have small speakers so that the user can use a speakerphone feature and talk to a person on the phone without holding it to their ear. The small speakers can also be used to listen to digital audio files of music or speech or watch videos with an audio component, without holding the phone close to the ear.


The average phone battery lasts 2–3 years at best. Many of the wireless devices use a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery, which charges 500-2500 times, depending on how users take care of the battery and the charging techniques used.NEWS,weblink How To Prolong Your Cell Phone Battery's Life Span, Taylor, Martin,, 8 June 2018, It is only natural for these rechargeable batteries to chemically age, which is why the performance of the battery when used for a year or two will begin to deteriorate. Battery life can be extended by draining it regularly, not overcharging it, and keeping it away from heat.WEB,weblink Iphone Battery and Performance, Apple Support, 8 June 2018, NEWS,weblink Should You Leave Your Smartphone Plugged Into The Charger Overnight? We Asked An Expert, Hill, Simon, Digital Trends, 8 June 2018,

SIM card

File:Typical cellphone SIM cards.jpg|thumb|upright|Typical mobile phone mini-SIM cardSIM cardMobile phones require a small microchip called a Subscriber Identity Module or SIM card, in order to function. The SIM card is approximately the size of a small postage stamp and is usually placed underneath the battery in the rear of the unit. The SIM securely stores the service-subscriber key (IMSI) and the Ki used to identify and authenticate the user of the mobile phone. The SIM card allows users to change phones by simply removing the SIM card from one mobile phone and inserting it into another mobile phone or broadband telephony device, provided that this is not prevented by a SIM lock. The first SIM card was made in 1991 by Munich smart card maker Giesecke & Devrient for the Finnish wireless network operator Radiolinja. {{Citation needed|date=May 2013}}A hybrid mobile phone can hold up to four SIM cards, with a phone having an IMEI per SIM Card. SIM and R-UIM cards may be mixed together to allow both GSM and CDMA networks to be accessed. From 2010 onwards, such phones became popular in emerging markets,NEWS,weblink Smartphone boom lifts phone market in first quarter, Reuters,weblink" title="">weblink 8 May 2011, 29 April 2011, 6 May 2019, and this was attributed to the desire to obtain the lowest on-net calling rate.


Software platforms

{{Expand section|date=October 2018}}Feature phones have basic software platforms.Smartphones have advanced software platforms.

Mobile app

A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone. The term "app" is a shortening of the term "software application".
{{see also|SMS|Multimedia Messaging Service{{!}}MMS}}(File:IPhone Text Message Amber Alert 1882467856 o.jpg|thumb|A text message (SMS).)A common data application on mobile phones is Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging. The first SMS message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone in 1992 in the UK while the first person-to-person SMS from phone to phone was sent in Finland in 1993. The first mobile news service, delivered via SMS, was launched in Finland in 2000,{{citation needed|date=December 2015}} and subsequently many organizations provided "on-demand" and "instant" news services by SMS. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) was introduced in 2001.{{citation needed|date=December 2015}}

Application stores

The introduction of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch in July 2008 popularized manufacturer-hosted online distribution for third-party applications (software and computer programs) focused on a single platform. There are a huge variety of apps, including video games, music products and business tools. Up until that point, smartphone application distribution depended on third-party sources providing applications for multiple platforms, such as GetJar, Handango, Handmark, and PocketGear. Following the success of the App Store, other smartphone manufacturers launched application stores, such as Google's Android Market (later renamed to the Google Play Store) and RIM's BlackBerry App World and Android-related app stores like F-Droid. In February 2014, 93% of mobile developers were targeting smartphones first for mobile app development.W3C Interview: Vision Mobile on the App Developer Economy with Matos Kapetanakis and Dimitris Michalakos {{webarchive |url= |date=29 June 2016 }}. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2015.


{{Update|section|Statistics until mid 2018 is needed for some parts of this section.|date=August 2018}}

By manufacturer

{{See also|List of best-selling mobile phones|List of mobile phone makers by country}}{| class="wikitable floatright" style="font-size: 87%;"|+ Market share of top-five worldwide mobile phone vendors, Q2 2016
!|Rank!|Manufacturer!|Strategy Analytics reportWEB, Gartner Says Five of Top 10 Worldwide Mobile Phone Vendors Increased Sales in Second Quarter of 2016,weblink Strategy Analytics, 20 March 2016, Egham, UK, 19 August 2016,
1 Samsung Electronics >| 22.3%
2 Apple Inc. >| 12.9%
3 Huawei 8.9%
4 OPPO Electronics >| 5.4%
5 Xiaomi 4.5%
Others 46.0%
Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors
From 1983 to 1998, Motorola was market leader in mobile phones. Nokia was the market leader in mobile phones from 1998 to 2012.WEB,weblink Farewell Nokia: The rise and fall of a mobile pioneer, Roger, Cheng, CNET, In Q1 2012, Samsung surpassed Nokia, selling 93.5 million units as against Nokia's 82.7 million units. Samsung has retained its top position since then. In 2017, the top five manufacturers worldwide were Samsung (20.9%), Apple (14.0%), Huawei (9.8%), Oppo (5.7%), and Vivo (6.5%).NEWS,weblink Gartner Says Worldwide Sales of Smartphones Recorded First Ever Decline During the Fourth Quarter of 2017, 22 February 2018, 11 July 2018, en, During Q2 2018, Huawei overtook Apple as the world's second-largest phone manufacturer.NEWS,weblink Huawei beats Apple to become second-largest smartphone maker, 3 August 2018, 3 August 2018, en,

By mobile phone operator

(File:Mobile phone map 1980-2009.gif|thumb|left|Growth in mobile phone subscribers per country from 1980 to 2009.)The world's largest individual mobile operator by number of subscribers is China Mobile, which has over 902 million mobile phone subscribers {{as of|2018|June|lc=y}}.WEB,weblink Operation Data, China Mobile, 2017-08-31, Over 50 mobile operators have over ten million subscribers each, and over 150 mobile operators had at least one million subscribers by the end of 2009.Source: wireless intelligence In 2014, there were more than seven billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide, a number that is expected to keep growing.{{clear}}


{{see also|Smartphone#Use}}


(File:Mobile phone subscribers 1997-2014 ITU.svg|thumb|upright=1.6|Mobile phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants. 2014 figure is estimated.)Mobile phones are used for a variety of purposes, such as keeping in touch with family members, for conducting business, and in order to have access to a telephone in the event of an emergency. Some people carry more than one mobile phone for different purposes, such as for business and personal use. Multiple SIM cards may be used to take advantage of the benefits of different calling plans. For example, a particular plan might provide for cheaper local calls, long-distance calls, international calls, or roaming.The mobile phone has been used in a variety of diverse contexts in society. For example:
  • A study by Motorola found that one in ten mobile phone subscribers have a second phone that is often kept secret from other family members. These phones may be used to engage in such activities as extramarital affairs or clandestine business dealings.NEWS,weblink Millions keep secret mobile, BBC News, 16 October 2001, 4 November 2009,
  • Some organizations assist victims of domestic violence by providing mobile phones for use in emergencies. These are often refurbished phones.WEB, Richard, Brooks,weblink Donated cell phones help battered women, The Press-Enterprise, 13 August 2007, 4 November 2009, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 25 September 2009,
  • The advent of widespread text-messaging has resulted in the cell phone novel, the first literary genre to emerge from the cellular age, via text messaging to a website that collects the novels as a whole.WEB, Goodyear, Dana,weblink Letter from Japan: I ♥ Novels, The New Yorker, 7 January 2009, 29 July 2009,
  • Mobile telephony also facilitates activism and public journalism being explored by Reuters and Yahoo!WEB,weblink You Witness News,, 26 January 2009, 29 July 2009, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 22 May 2009, and small independent news companies such as Jasmine News in Sri Lanka.{{citation needed|date=December 2012}}
  • The United Nations reported that mobile phones have spread faster than any other form of technology and can improve the livelihood of the poorest people in developing countries, by providing access to information in places where landlines or the Internet are not available, especially in the least developed countries. Use of mobile phones also spawns a wealth of micro-enterprises, by providing such work as selling airtime on the streets and repairing or refurbishing handsets.NEWS,weblink Reuters, Jonathan, Lynn, Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study, 3 December 2013,
  • In Mali and other African countries, people used to travel from village to village to let friends and relatives know about weddings, births, and other events. This can now be avoided in areas with mobile phone coverage, which are usually more extensive than areas with just land-line penetration.
  • The TV industry has recently started using mobile phones to drive live TV viewing through mobile apps, advertising, social TV, and mobile TV.WEB,weblink 4 Ways Smartphones Can Save Live TV,, 4 June 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 14 May 2012, It is estimated that 86% of Americans use their mobile phone while watching TV.
  • In some parts of the world, mobile phone sharing is common. Cell phone sharing is prevalent in urban India, as families and groups of friends often share one or more mobile phones among their members. There are obvious economic benefits, but often familial customs and traditional gender roles play a part.Donner, Jonathan, and Steenson, Molly Wright. "Beyond the Personal and Private: Modes of Mobile Phone Sharing in Urban India." In The Reconstruction of Space and Time: Mobile Communication Practices, edited by Scott Campbell and Rich Ling, 231–50. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2008. It is common for a village to have access to only one mobile phone, perhaps owned by a teacher or missionary, which is available to all members of the village for necessary calls.JOURNAL, Hahn, Hans, Kibora, Ludovic, 2008, The Domestication of the Mobile Phone: Oral Society and New ICT in Burkina Faso, Journal of Modern African Studies, 46, 87–109, 10.1017/s0022278x07003084,

Content distribution

In 1998, one of the first examples of distributing and selling media content through the mobile phone was the sale of ringtones by Radiolinja in Finland. Soon afterwards, other media content appeared, such as news, video games, jokes, horoscopes, TV content and advertising. Most early content for mobile phones tended to be copies of legacy media, such as banner advertisements or TV news highlight video clips. Recently, unique content for mobile phones has been emerging, from ringtones and ringback tones to mobisodes, video content that has been produced exclusively for mobile phones.

Mobile banking and payment

(File:Mobile payment 01.jpg|thumb|Mobile payment system.){{see also|Branchless banking|Contactless payment}}In many countries, mobile phones are used to provide mobile banking services, which may include the ability to transfer cash payments by secure SMS text message. Kenya's M-PESA mobile banking service, for example, allows customers of the mobile phone operator Safaricom to hold cash balances which are recorded on their SIM cards. Cash can be deposited or withdrawn from M-PESA accounts at Safaricom retail outlets located throughout the country and can be transferred electronically from person to person and used to pay bills to companies.Branchless banking has also been successful in South Africa and the Philippines. A pilot project in Bali was launched in 2011 by the International Finance Corporation and an Indonesian bank, Bank Mandiri.WEB,weblink Branchless banking to start in Bali, The Jakarta Post, 13 April 2012, 4 June 2012, Another application of mobile banking technology is Zidisha, a US-based nonprofit micro-lending platform that allows residents of developing countries to raise small business loans from Web users worldwide. Zidisha uses mobile banking for loan disbursements and repayments, transferring funds from lenders in the United States to borrowers in rural Africa who have mobile phones and can use the Internet.WEB,weblink "Zidisha Set to "Expand" in Peer-to-Peer Microfinance", Microfinance Focus, Feb 2010,, 7 February 2010, 4 June 2012, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 21 September 2012, Mobile payments were first trialled in Finland in 1998 when two Coca-Cola vending machines in Espoo were enabled to work with SMS payments. Eventually, the idea spread and in 1999, the Philippines launched the country's first commercial mobile payments systems with mobile operators Globe and Smart.Some mobile phones can make mobile payments via direct mobile billing schemes, or through contactless payments if the phone and the point of sale support near field communication (NFC).WEB,weblink Mobile Payments: Look to Korea, Feig, Nancy,, 25 June 2007, 29 January 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 26 March 2010, Enabling contactless payments through NFC-equipped mobile phones requires the co-operation of manufacturers, network operators, and retail merchants.NEWS,weblink End of the credit card? With one swipe of an iPhone you'll be able to pay for your shopping, Poulter, Sean,, 27 January 2011, 29 January 2011, London, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 24 January 2010, NFC mobile phone set to explode, Ready, Sarah,, 10 November 2009, 29 January 2011, WEB,weblink VISA Testing NFC Memory Cards for Wireless Payments, Tofel, Kevin C.,, 20 August 2010, 21 January 2011,

Mobile tracking

{{see also|Cellphone surveillance|Mobile phone tracking}}Mobile phones are commonly used to collect location data. While the phone is turned on, the geographical location of a mobile phone can be determined easily (whether it is being used or not) using a technique known as multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the mobile phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone.NEWS,weblink Tracking a suspect by mobile phone, 3 August 2005, BBC News, 14 March 2009, NEWS,weblink Cell Phone Tracking Can Locate Terrorists â€” But Only Where It's Legal, Miller, Joshua, 14 March 2009, FOX News, 4 February 2014, The movements of a mobile phone user can be tracked by their service provider and if desired, by law enforcement agencies and their governments. Both the SIM card and the handset can be tracked.China has proposed using this technology to track the commuting patterns of Beijing city residents.NEWS,weblink Cecilia Kang, China plans to track cellphone users, sparking human rights concerns, The Washington Post, 3 March 2011, In the UK and US, law enforcement and intelligence services use mobile phones to perform surveillance operations. They possess technology that enables them to activate the microphones in mobile phones remotely in order to listen to conversations which take place near the phone.NEWS,weblink FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool, McCullagh, Declan, Anne Broache, 1 December 2006, CNet News, 14 March 2009, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 10 November 2013, NEWS,weblink Use of mobile helped police keep tabs on suspect, Odell, Mark, 1 August 2005, Financial Times, 14 March 2009, Hackers are able to track a phone's location, read messages, and record calls, just by knowing the phone number.WEB,weblink Your phone number is all a hacker needs to read texts, listen to calls and track you, Samuel, Gibbs, 18 April 2016,,

While driving

(File:Hand held phone in car.JPG|thumb|right|A driver using two hand-held mobile phones at once.)(File:NocellphonesSouthsidePlaceTX.JPG|thumb|A sign in the U.S. restricting cell phone use to certain times of day)Mobile phone use while driving, including talking on the phone, texting, or operating other phone features, is common but controversial. It is widely considered dangerous due to distracted driving. Being distracted while operating a motor vehicle has been shown to increase the risk of accidents. In September 2010, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 995 people were killed by drivers distracted by cell phones. In March 2011, a U.S. insurance company, State Farm Insurance, announced the results of a study which showed 19% of drivers surveyed accessed the Internet on a smartphone while driving.NEWS, Quit Googling yourself and drive: About 20% of drivers using Web behind the wheel, study says, Los Angeles Times, 4 March 2011,weblink Many jurisdictions prohibit the use of mobile phones while driving. In Egypt, Israel, Japan, Portugal, and Singapore, both handheld and hands-free use of a mobile phone (which uses a speakerphone) is banned. In other countries, including the UK and France and in many U.S. states, only handheld phone use is banned while hands-free use is permitted.A 2011 study reported that over 90% of college students surveyed text (initiate, reply or read) while driving.JOURNAL,weblink The Choice to Text and Drive in Younger Drivers: Behaviour May Shape Attitude, Atchley, Paul, January 2011, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 10.1016/j.aap.2010.08.003, Stephanie, Atwood, Boulton, Aaron, 43, 134–142, The scientific literature on the dangers of driving while sending a text message from a mobile phone, or texting while driving, is limited. A simulation study at the University of Utah found a sixfold increase in distraction-related accidents when texting.WEB,weblink Text messaging not illegal but data clear on its peril, Due to the increasing complexity of mobile phones, they are often more like mobile computers in their available uses. This has introduced additional difficulties for law enforcement officials when attempting to distinguish one usage from another in drivers using their devices. This is more apparent in countries which ban both handheld and hands-free usage, rather than those which ban handheld use only, as officials cannot easily tell which function of the mobile phone is being used simply by looking at the driver. This can lead to drivers being stopped for using their device illegally for a phone call when, in fact, they were using the device legally, for example, when using the phone's incorporated controls for car stereo, GPS or satnav.A 2010 study reviewed the incidence of mobile phone use while cycling and its effects on behaviour and Waard, D., Schepers, P., Ormel, W. and Brookhuis, K., 2010, Mobile phone use while cycling: Incidence and effects on behaviour and safety, Ergonomics, Vol 53, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 30–42. In 2013, a national survey in the US reported the number of drivers who reported using their cellphones to access the Internet while driving had risen to nearly one of four.WEB,weblink Drivers still Web surfing while driving, survey finds, USA TODAY, A study conducted by the University of Vienna examined approaches for reducing inappropriate and problematic use of mobile phones, such as using mobile phones while driving.JOURNAL,weblink Reaching the Mobile Respondent: Determinants of High-Level Mobile Phone Use Among a High-Coverage Group, Social Science Computer Review, 28, 3, 336–349, 10.1177/0894439309353099, 2010, Burger, Christoph, Riemer, Valentin, Grafeneder, Jürgen, Woisetschläger, Bianca, Vidovic, Dragana, Hergovich, Andreas, Accidents involving a driver being distracted by talking on a mobile phone have begun to be prosecuted as negligence similar to speeding. In the United Kingdom, from 27 February 2007, motorists who are caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving will have three penalty points added to their license in addition to the fine of £60.WEB,weblink Drivers face new phone penalties, 22 January 2007,, This increase was introduced to try to stem the increase in drivers ignoring the law.WEB,weblink Careless talk, 22 February 2007,, Japan prohibits all mobile phone use while driving, including use of hands-free devices. New Zealand has banned hand-held cell phone use since 1 November 2009. Many states in the United States have banned texting on cell phones while driving. Illinois became the 17th American state to enforce this law.NEWS,weblink CNN, Illinois to ban texting while driving, 12 May 2010, 6 August 2009, {{as of|2010|July|}}, 30 states had banned texting while driving, with Kentucky becoming the most recent addition on 15 July.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 19 January 2013, Texting while driving ban, other new Kentucky laws take effect today, Stephanie, Steitzer, The Courier-Journal, 14 July 2010, 15 July 2010, Public Health Law Research maintains a list of distracted driving laws in the United States. This database of laws provides a comprehensive view of the provisions of laws that restrict the use of mobile communication devices while driving for all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1992 when first law was passed, through 1 December 2010. The dataset contains information on 22 dichotomous, continuous or categorical variables including, for example, activities regulated (e.g., texting versus talking, hands-free versus handheld), targeted populations, and exemptions.WEB,weblink Distracted Driving Laws, Public Health Law Research, 15 July 2011, 27 June 2014, In 2010, an estimated 1500 pedestrians were injured in the US while using a cellphone and some jurisdictions have attempted to ban pedestrians from using their cellphones.JOURNAL, Nasar, Jack L., Troyer, Dereck, Pedestrian injuries due to mobile phone use in public places, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 57, 91–95, 21 March 2013, 10.1016/j.aap.2013.03.021, 23644536,weblink 31 July 2017, NEWS, Grabar, Henry, The Absurdity of Honolulu's New Law Banning Pedestrians From Looking at Their Cellphones,weblink 31 July 2017, Slate (magazine), Slate, 28 July 2017,

Health effects

{{See also|Nomophobia|Mobile phone overuse}}The effect of mobile phone radiation on human health is the subject of recent{{When|date=October 2017}} interest and study, as a result of the enormous increase in mobile phone usage throughout the world. Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, which some believe may be harmful to human health. A large body of research exists, both epidemiological and experimental, in non-human animals and in humans. The majority of this research shows no definite causative relationship between exposure to mobile phones and harmful biological effects in humans. This is often paraphrased simply as the balance of evidence showing no harm to humans from mobile phones, although a significant number of individual studies do suggest such a relationship, or are inconclusive. Other digital wireless systems, such as data communication networks, produce similar radiation.{{citation needed|date=February 2018}}On 31 May 2011, the World Health Organization stated that mobile phone use may possibly represent a long-term health risk,WEB, IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans,weblink World Health Organization, WEB,weblink What are the health risks associated with mobile phones and their base stations?, 19 January 2008, 5 December 2005, Online Q&A, World Health Organization, classifying mobile phone radiation as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" after a team of scientists reviewed studies on mobile phone safety.NEWS,weblink WHO: Cell phone use can increase possible cancer risk, 31 May 2011, CNN, 31 May 2011, The mobile phone is in category 2B, which ranks it alongside coffee and other possibly carcinogenic substances.WEB,weblink Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–107,, JOURNAL, Kovvali, Gopala, Cell phones are as carcinogenic as coffee, Journal of Carcinogenesis, 1 January 2011, 10, 1, 18, 10.4103/1477-3163.83044, 21799662, 3142790, Some recent{{When|date=October 2017}} studies have found an association between mobile phone use and certain kinds of brain and salivary gland tumors. Lennart Hardell and other authors of a 2009 meta-analysis of 11 studies from peer-reviewed journals concluded that cell phone usage for at least ten years "approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same ('ipsilateral') side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use".JOURNAL, Khurana, VG, Teo C, Kundi M, Hardell L, Carlberg M, Cell phones and brain tumors: A review including the long term epidemiologic data, Surgical Neurology, 72, 3, 205–214, 10.1016/j.surneu.2009.01.019, 19328536, 2009, One study of past mobile phone use cited in the report showed a "40% increased risk for gliomas (brain cancer) in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period)".WEB,weblink World Health Organization: Cell Phones May Cause Cancer, 31 May 2011, Business Insider, This is a reversal of the study's prior position that cancer was unlikely to be caused by cellular phones or their base stations and that reviews had found no convincing evidence for other health effects.WEB,weblink Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile telephones and their base stations, 19 January 2008, June 2000, Fact sheet N°193, World Health Organization, However, a study published 24 March 2012, in the British Medical Journal questioned these estimates because the increase in brain cancers has not paralleled the increase in mobile phone use.JOURNAL, Little MP, Rajaraman P, Curtis RE, etal, Mobile phone use and glioma risk: comparison of epidemiological study results with incidence trends in the United States, BMJ, 2012, 344, e1147, 10.1136/bmj.e1147, 22403263, 3297541, Certain countries, including France, have warned against the use of mobile phones by minors in particular, due to health risk uncertainties.NEWS,weblink France warns against excessive mobile phone use, 10 May 2010, 2 January 2008, Reuters, Brian Rohan, Mobile pollution by transmitting electromagnetic waves can be decreased up to 90% by adopting the circuit as designed in mobile phone and mobile exchange.WEB,weblink Mobile Phone and System Are Designed In A Novel Way To Have Minimum Electromagnetic Wave Transmission In Air and Minimum Electrical Power Consumption, Bhattacharjee, Pijush Kanti (2012), International Journal of Computer Networks and Wireless Communications [IJCNWC], vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 556–59, 2012., In May 2016, preliminary findings of a long-term study by the U.S. government suggested that radio-frequency (RF) radiation, the type emitted by cell phones, can cause cancer.WEB,weblink "Game-changing" study links cellphone radiation to cancer, "Report of Partial Findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposures) – Draft 5-19-2016"

Educational impact

{{see also|Mobile phone use in schools}}A study by the London School of Economics found that banning mobile phones in schools could increase pupils' academic performance, providing benefits equal to one extra week of schooling per year.NEWS, Social media 'more stressful than exams', Davis, Anna, 18 May 2015, London Evening Standard, 13,

Electronic waste regulation

(File:Handy schrott mobile phone scrap.jpg|right|thumb|Scrapped mobile phones.){{see also|Mobile phone recycling}}Studies have shown that around 40–50% of the environmental impact of mobile phones occurs during the manufacture of their printed wiring boards and integrated circuits.WEB,weblink The Secret Life Series – Environmental Impacts of Cell Phones, Inform, Inc., 4 February 2014, The average user replaces their mobile phone every 11 to 18 months,WEB,weblink E-waste research group, Facts and figures, Griffith University, 3 December 2011, and the discarded phones then contribute to electronic waste. Mobile phone manufacturers within Europe are subject to the WEEE directive, and Australia has introduced a mobile phone recycling scheme.WEB,weblink Mobile Phone Waste and The Environment, Aussie Recycling Program, 3 December 2011, Apple Inc. had an advanced robotic disassembler and sorter called Liam specifically for recycling outdated or broken iPhones.[350]


According to the Federal Communications Commission, one out of three robberies involve the theft of a cellular phone.{{citation needed|date=December 2015}} Police data in San Francisco show that half of all robberies in 2012 were thefts of cellular phones.{{citation needed|date=December 2015}} An online petition on, called Secure our Smartphones, urged smartphone manufacturers to install kill switches in their devices to make them unusable if stolen. The petition is part of a joint effort by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and was directed to the CEOs of the major smartphone manufacturers and telecommunication carriers. Adams, Mike "Plea Urges Anti-Theft Phone Tech" San Francisco Examiner 7 June 2013 p. 5 On 10 June 2013, Apple announced that it would install a "kill switch" on its next iPhone operating system, due to debut in October 2013."Apple to add kill switches to help combat iPhone theft" by Jaxon Van Derbeken San Francisco Chronicle 11 June 2013 p. 1All mobile phones have a unique identifier called IMEI. Anyone can report their phone as lost or stolen with their Telecom Carrier, and the IMEI would be blacklisted with a central registry.WEB,weblink IMEIpro – free IMEI number check service,, 29 September 2016, Telecom carriers, depending upon local regulation can or must implement blocking of blacklisted phones in their network. There are, however, a number of ways to circumvent a blacklist. One method is to send the phone to a country where the telecom carriers are not required to implement the blacklisting and sell it there,WEB,weblink How stolen phone blacklists will tamp down on crime, and what to do in the mean time, 27 November 2012, en-US, 29 September 2016, another involves altering the phone's IMEI number.WEB,weblink How To Change IMEI Number, 1 July 2015, en-US, 29 September 2016, Even so, mobile phones typically have less value on the second-hand market if the phones original IMEI is blacklisted.An unusual example of a phone bill caused by theft (reported on 28 June 2018) was when a biological group in Poland put a GPS tracker on a white stork and released it; during autumn migration over the Blue Nile valley in eastern Sudan someone got hold of the stork's GPS tracker, and found in it a mobile-phone-type sim card, which he put in his mobile phone, and made 20 hours of calls on it, running up a bill of over 10,000 Polish zlotys (= $2700) for the biological group.WEB,weblink Polish charity gets huge phone bill thanks to stork, BBC News, 28 June 2018, 7 September 2018,

Conflict minerals

Demand for metals used in mobile phones and other electronics fuelled the Second Congo War, which claimed almost 5.5 million lives.NEWS,weblink Is your mobile phone helping fund war in Congo?, 27 September 2011, The Daily Telegraph, In a 2012 news story, The Guardian reported: "In unsafe mines deep underground in eastern Congo, children are working to extract minerals essential for the electronics industry. The profits from the minerals finance the bloodiest conflict since the second world war; the war has lasted nearly 20 years and has recently flared up again. ... For the last 15 years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been a major source of natural resources for the mobile phone industry."NEWS,weblink Children of the Congo who risk their lives to supply our mobile phones, 7 December 2012, The Guardian, The company Fairphone has worked to develop a mobile phone that does not contain conflict minerals.

See also

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Further reading

  • Agar, Jon, Constant Touch: A Global History of the Mobile Phone, 2004 {{ISBN|1-84046-541-7}}
  • Ahonen, Tomi, m-Profits: Making Money with 3G Services, 2002, {{ISBN|0-470-84775-1}}
  • Ahonen, Kasper and Melkko, 3G Marketing 2004, {{ISBN|0-470-85100-7}}
  • JOURNAL, Fessenden, R. A., 1908, Wireless Telephony, Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 161–196,weblink 7 August 2009,
  • Glotz, Peter & Bertsch, Stefan, eds. Thumb Culture: The Meaning of Mobile Phones for Society, 2005
  • Goggin, Gerard, Global Mobile Media (New York: Routledge, 2011), p. 176. {{ISBN|978-0-415-46918-0}}
  • Jain, S. Lochlann. "Urban Errands: The Means of Mobility". Journal of Consumer Culture 2:3 (November 2002) 385–404. {{doi|10.1177/146954050200200305}}.
  • Katz, James E. & Aakhus, Mark, eds. Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance, 2002
  • Kavoori, Anandam & Arceneaux, Noah, eds. The Cell Phone Reader: Essays in Social Transformation, 2006
  • Kennedy, Pagan. Who Made That Cellphone?, The New York Times, 15 March 2013, p. MM19
  • Kopomaa, Timo. The City in Your Pocket, Gaudeamus 2000
  • Levinson, Paul, Cellphone: The Story of the World's Most Mobile Medium, and How It Has Transformed Everything!, 2004 {{ISBN|1-4039-6041-0}}
  • Ling, Rich, The Mobile Connection: the Cell Phone's Impact on Society, 2004 {{ISBN|1-55860-936-9}}
  • Ling, Rich and Pedersen, Per, eds. Mobile Communications: Re-negotiation of the Social Sphere, 2005 {{ISBN|1-85233-931-4}}
  • weblink" title="">Home page of Rich Ling
  • Nyíri, Kristóf, ed. Mobile Communication: Essays on Cognition and Community, 2003
  • Nyíri, Kristóf, ed. Mobile Learning: Essays on Philosophy, Psychology and Education, 2003
  • Nyíri, Kristóf, ed. Mobile Democracy: Essays on Society, Self and Politics, 2003
  • Nyíri, Kristóf, ed. A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication, 2005
  • Nyíri, Kristóf, ed. Mobile Understanding: The Epistemology of Ubiquitous Communication, 2006
  • Plant, Dr. Sadie, weblink" title="">on the mobile â€“ the effects of mobile telephones on social and individual life, 2001
  • Rheingold, Howard, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, 2002 {{ISBN|0-7382-0861-2}}
  • BOOK, Singh, Rohit, Mobile phones for development and profit: a win-win scenario, Overseas Development Institute, April 2009, 2,weblink

External links

{{Wikivoyage|Mobile telephones}}{{Wiktionary}} {{Mobile phones}}{{Mobile telecommunications standards}}{{Telephony}}{{Telecommunications}}{{Authority control}}

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