GSM History and India

Mobile communication is one of the fastest growing and most demanding of all telecommunication technologies. The origin of mobile communication followed quickly behind the invention of radio in the late 1800’s. The first allocations of mobile radio were related to the navigation and safety of ships at sea. As radio concept developed, so did it use as a communication tool. The idea of the first cellular network was brainstormed in 1947. It was intended to be used for military purposes as a way of supplying troops with more advanced forms of communications. From 1947 till about 1979 several different forms of broadcasting technology emerged. The United States began to develop the AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone Service) network, while European countries were developing their own forms of communication.

Europeans quickly realized the disadvantages of each European country operating on their mobile network. It prevents cell phone use from country to country within Europe. With the emerging European Union and high travel volume between countries in Europe this was seen as a problem. Rectifying the situation the Conference of European Posts and Telegraphs (CEPT) assembled a research group with intentions of researching the mobile phone system in Europe. This group was called Group Spécial Mobile (GSM).

For the next ten years the GSM group outlined standards, researched technology and designed a way to implement a pan-European mobile phone network. In 1989 work done by the GSM group was transferred to the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI). The name GSM was transposed to name the type of service invented. The acronym GSM had been changed from Group Spécial Mobile to Global Systems Mobile Telecommunications.

By April of 1991 commercial service of the GSM network had begun. Just a year and half later in 1993 there were already 36 GSM networks in over 22 countries. Several other countries were on the rise to adopt this new mobile phone network and participate in what was becoming a worldwide standard. At the same time, GSM also became widely used in the Middle East, South Africa and Australia.

While the European Union had developed a sophisticated digital cell phone system, the United States was still operating primarily on the old, analog AMPS network and TDMA.

However GSM entered India only in 1995 and the Historic first cell phone-call was made by Mobile Net joint venture between Telstra (Australia) & B.K. Modi group. Thereafter a Mobile revolution began in Kolkata. Back then having mobile phone was a poor man’s dream and a rich man’s reality.  Handset cost back in 1995, more than one and a half decade ago were as high as Rs 40,000. Rs 40000 back in 1995 won’t be less than today’s 40,00,000. And call tariffs back then were 17 rs per minute compare it with today’s 30paisa per second. Comparing the call rates one may feel that India has been under deflation since the time mobile was introduced.

Today GSM is the most commonly used mobile service. In India as well there will be not more than 5 cdma providers but there are as many as 15 GSM service providers. The main GSM companies in India are Vodafone, Bharti AIrtel, Tata Docomo, Idea Cellular and Reliance GSM. Prepaid subscriber can recharge prepaid mobile balance online. Recharging online is very easy and quick. Also various packs and plans can be activated online.



Shivanand Nabar
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