AT&T's research arm, Bell Laboratories, introduced the idea of cellular communications in 1947. But Motorola and Bell Labs in the sixties and early seventies were in a race to incorporate the technology into portable devices.
While he was a project manager at Motorola in 1973, Dr Cooper set up a base station in New York with the first working prototype of a cellular telephone, the Motorola Dyna-Tac. After some initial testing in Washington for the F.C.C., Mr. Cooper and Motorola took the phone technology to New York to show the public.
Motorola was trying to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to allocate frequency space to private companies for use in the emerging technology of cellular communications.
On 3rd April 1973, standing on a street near the Manhattan Hilton, Mr. Cooper decided to attempt a private call before going to a press conference upstairs in the hotel. He picked up the 2-pound Motorola handset called the Dyna-Tac and pushed the "off hook" button.
The phone came alive, connecting Mr. Cooper with the base station on the roof of the Burlington Consolidated Tower (now the Alliance Capital Building) and into the landline system. To the bewilderment of some passers-by, he dialed the number and held the phone to his ear. Dr Cooper placed a phone call to his rival Joel Engel, Bell Labs head of research. That was the beginning.
Dr Martin Cooper is now the chief executive of high-speed wireless company ArrayComm and is credited with inventing the mobile phone while working at Motorola.
In a recent interview he declared: "The future of mobile/wireless computing over the next 10 years will include the replacement of tethered Internet connections with the freedom of mobility -- high-speed wireless Internet capabilities will soon become a staple for every worker, just as cellular phones are part of our lives today. Soon, affordable "personal broadband" services will allow business people to access their critical enterprise applications at a client site, an airport or in a cab. Personal broadband will also allow any number of applications that are waiting for the wireless Internet, from monitoring the vital signs of heart patients without doctor visits, to instantly uploading a digital picture to a personal Web site the instant the photo is taken."