Inventor Charles E. Alden claimed, in the 29 April 1906 issue of the New York World, to have invented a device called the “vest pocket telephone" although Alden never had the chance to produce this device in large quantities.
The first mobile telephone calls were made from cars in 1946. Bell System's Mobile Telephone Service was made on 17 June in St. Louis, Missouri, followed by Illinois Bell Telephone Company's car radiotelephone service in Chicago on 2 October.  The MTA phones were composed of vacuum tubes and relays, and weighed over 80 pounds (36 kg). There were initially only 3 channels for all the users in the metropolitan area, increasing later to 32 channels across 3 bands. This service continued into the 1980s in large portions of North America. Due to the small number of radio frequencies available, the service quickly reached capacity. In 1956 the world’s first partly automatic car phone system, Mobile System A (MTA) was introduced in Sweden.
John F. Mitchell, Motorola's chief of portable communication products in 1973, played a key role in advancing the development of handheld mobile telephone equipment. Mitchell successfully pushed Motorola to develop wireless communication products that would be small enough to use anywhere and participated in the design of the cellular phone.Martin Cooper, a Motorola researcher and executive, was the key researcher on Mitchell's team that developed the first hand-held mobile telephone for use on a cellular network. Using a somewhat heavy portable handset, Cooper made the first call on a handheld mobile phone on 3 April 1973 to his rival, Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.
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 or 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.
—Martin Cooper, 
The new invention sold for $3,995 and weighed two pounds, leading to a nickname "the brick".
The world's first commercial automated cellular network was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979, initially in the metropolitan area of Tokyo. In 1981, this was followed by the simultaneous launch of the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Several countries then followed in the early-to-mid 1980s including the UK, Mexico and Canada.
On 6 March 1983, the DynaTAc mobile phone launched on the first US 1G network by Ameritech. It cost $100m to develop, and took over a decade to hit the market. The phone had a talk time of just half an hour and took ten hours to charge. Consumer demand was strong despite the battery life, weight, and low talk time, and waiting lists were in the thousands.
In 1991, the second generation (2G) cellular technology was launched in Finland by Radiolinja on the GSM standard, which sparked competition in the sector as the new operators challenged the incumbent 1G network operators.
Ten years later, in 2001, the third generation (3G) was launched in Japan by NTT DoCoMo on the WCDMA standard. This was followed by 3.5G, 3G+ or turbo 3G enhancements based on the high-speed packet access (HSPA) family, allowing UMTS networks to have higher data transfer speeds and capacity.
By 2009, it had become clear that, at some point, 3G networks would be overwhelmed by the growth of bandwidth-intensive applications like streaming media. Consequently, the industry began looking to data-optimized 4th-generation technologies, with the promise of speed improvements up to 10-fold over existing 3G technologies. The first two commercially available technologies billed as 4G were the WiMAX standard (offered in the U.S. by Sprint) and the LTE standard, first offered in Scandinavia by TeliaSonera.