GSM Celebrates 20th Anniversary with 4.4 Billion Subscriptions

Today, 01 July 2011, marks the 20th anniversary of the first phone call made over GSM, the Global System for Mobile communications.

The first GSM call was between Finland’s former prime minister, Harri Holkeri, and the mayor of Tampere (a city in southern Finland), Kaarina Suonio. The first call was made using a Nokia Mobira car phone through a network was jointly developed by Telenokia and Siemens Networks, the two companies that joined to form today’s Nokia Siemens Networks.

The main topic of the first phone conversation was how much better this new standard for digital communications was than the old analogue phones they had used before.

GSM offered much better call quality and security against snooping. GSM also saw the advent of the SIM (subscriber identification module) card, the main advantage of which remains the ease with which it became possible to switch phones.

GSM was very much successful beyond anyone’s expectations. It reached more than 500 million subscribers in the first decade to 2001. Today GSM networks have more than 4.4 billion subscriptions, reports Nokia blog. And the figure is still growing fast, with 1 million new GSM subscriptions every day. That’s a rate of nearly 12 a second. [source]

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