When Did Cellphone Service First Come To Maine?
Earlier this month, we hit a major tech milestone: the 50th anniversary of the very first cellphone call.
These days, our phones are as important to us as our car keys and our wallets. For some people, their phone is even more important than those other items!
The first call was made by a Motorola executive named Marty Cooper. The call, which was made in Manhattan, was a big trolling of his Bell Labs counterpart. You see, while Motorola had been focused on creating a phone that was fully mobile (handheld), the team at Bell Labs was convinced that people were only going to want to use a phone in their car.
This video explains the story:
But, what about Maine? When were Mainers first able to pull a "brick" phone out of their briefcase to call Delores back at the office to find out if they missed any important calls?'
We really had to do some digging find an answer to this one. We asked Chat GPT about the first cellphone service in Maine. The artificial intelligence explained that the first cellphone provider in Maine, Cellular One, first started operating in the state in 1985.
The first cellphone network in Maine was established in the mid-1980s. Specifically, the first cellular service in Maine was launched by Cellular One in 1985. At the time, the network covered only a small portion of the state, primarily the Portland area.
According to Wikipedia, Cellular One was formed by phone and two-way radio maker Motorola and American Radio Telephone in 1977. The original goal of the company was to provide cell service to the Washington DC area. It started operating in the nation's capital in 1983.
It appears that the company expanded into New England in the mid-1980s. The service, which was focused on the Portland-area, arrived in Maine in 1985.
It was not cheap, either! The cost of the phone was in the thousands and service was about 40 cents a minute - the equivulant of about $1.00 a minute today.
Within a few years, other companies began operating in Maine. A few years after that, the networks began expanding to the less populated parts of the state.
We've come so far since then - not just in the cost of the phones - but what they can do, too.
Was there any cellphone service in Maine before 1985? Maybe... Some places had "radio telephone" service in the 1960s and 1970s, but we have never heard anyone say that they used it here in Maine.
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