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Sep 16, 2011

Why Do We Use The Term Cellular Phone Instead of Mobile Phone?

If I asked you about your phone, would you call it a cell phone or a mobile phone? Does it really matter what you say or is one term more appropriate than the other?

The world cellular, as it describes phone technology, was used by engineers Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young at Bell Labs. They diagrammed a network of wireless towers into what they called a cellular layout. Cellular was the chosen term because each tower and its coverage map looked like a biological cell. Eventually, phones that operated on this type of wireless network were called cellular phones.

The term mobile phone predates its cellular counterpart. The first mobile phone call was placed in 1946 over Bell System's Mobile telephone service, a closed radiotelephone system. And the first commercial mobile phones were installed cars in the 1970s.

Eventually, the two names, mobile phone and cellular phone, became synonymous, especially here in the US. But some people disagree with that usage. They consider the term "cellular phone" to be a misnomer because the phone is not cellular, the network is. The phone is a mobile phone and it operates on a cellular network. So what do you think, is this just splitting hairs or do we need to be more careful about what we call our phones?
 
 

9 comments:

YeamieWaffles said...

Interesting man, honestly. We use mobile phone over here and I was always curious why you guys didn't do likewise.....

Zombie said...

I always wondered why they called it that...

my day in a sentence said...

Where I'm from, all of the people call those "mobile phones" (our rendition is "mobilni telefoni"), but, when I'm using English, I call them "cell phones", mostly 'cause I've noticed that English folk calls them like that.

Lot's Wife said...

The origin of the name is so interesting. I call my cell phone a Wayward Communications Transmitting Apparatus anyway.

MRanthrope said...

cell phone have been engraved into my vocabulary, too late to switch now.

Rob said...

Interesting piece of information. Thanks for sharing, I didn't know that.

George Anderson said...

Interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

Red13 said...

Never thought of that before

Tod Woodward said...

Everyone calls them mobiles in the UK and most of europe I believe