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30th Anniversary of First Wireless Cell Phone Call

4th April 2003

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the first public telephone call placed on a portable cellular phone. Martin Cooper, ArrayComm Inc.'s chairman, CEO and co-founder, placed that call on April 3, 1973, while general manager of Motorola's Communications Systems Division. It was the incarnation of his vision for personal wireless communications, distinct from cellular car phones.

Inset is Martin Cooper, inventor of the handheld cellular phone and now chairman and CEO of ArrayComm, demonstrates the first portable cellular telephone which debuted on April 3, 1973.

That first call, placed to Cooper's rival at AT&T's Bell Labs from the streets of New York City, caused a fundamental technology and communications market shift toward the person and away from the place.

"People want to talk to other people -- not a house, or an office, or a car. Given a choice, people will demand the freedom to communicate wherever they are, unfettered by the infamous copper wire. It is that freedom we sought to vividly demonstrate in 1973," said Cooper.

He added, "As I walked down the street while talking on the phone, sophisticated New Yorkers gaped at the sight of someone actually moving around while making a phone call. Remember that in 1973, there weren't cordless telephones, let alone cellular phones. I made numerous calls, including one where I crossed the street while talking to a New York radio reporter -- probably one of the more dangerous things I have ever done in my life."

Following the April 3, 1973, public demonstration, using a "brick"-like 30-ounce phone, Cooper started the 10-year process of bringing the portable cell phone to market. Motorola introduced the 16-ounce "DynaTAC" phone into commercial service in 1983, with each phone costing the consumer $3,500. It took seven additional years before there were a million subscribers in the United States. Today, there are more cellular subscribers than wireline phone subscribers in the world, with mobile phones weighing as little as 3 ounces.

Cooper's role in conceiving and developing the first portable cellular phone directly impacted his choice to found and lead ArrayComm, a wireless technology and systems company founded in 1992. ArrayComm's core adaptive antenna technology increases the capacity and coverage of any cellular system, while significantly lowering costs and making speech more reliable. This technology addresses what Cooper calls "the unfulfilled promise" of cellular, which should be, but still isn't as reliable or affordable as wired telephony.

ArrayComm has also used its adaptive antenna technology to make the Internet "personal" by creating the i-BURST Personal Broadband System, which delivers high-speed, mobile Internet access that consumers can afford.

"It's very exciting to be part of a movement toward making broadband available to people with the same freedom to be anywhere that they have for voice communications today," said Cooper. "People rely heavily on the Internet for their work, entertainment and communication, but they need to be unleashed. We will look back at 2003 as the beginning of the era when the Internet became truly untethered."

About the i-BURST Personal Broadband System

The i-BURST Personal Broadband System is a carrier-grade wide area wireless data network designed for people to have high-speed Internet access wherever they are. Distinct and complementary to traditional 2G and emerging 3G systems as well as short-range 802.11 WLAN (Wi-Fi) networks, Personal Broadband technology delivers a revolutionary Internet experience, combining the freedom of mobility, low cost infrastructure and transmission speeds similar to a typical home broadband DSL or cable line. The system is architected to support the full range of IP applications in a mobile environment, including e-mail, virtual private networking, high speed Web access, streaming video, gaming and voice over IP (VoIP). ArrayComm's patented adaptive antenna technology is at the heart of the system, providing incredible gains in spectral efficiency and thereby dramatically lowering per-user service costs on a network.


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