It was mobile communications in the USSR (7 pics + text)

The world's first fully automatic mobile communication has been established and put into operation in the Soviet Union. And within a few years, the Soviet Union was the world leader in mobile communications.




"Altai". The world's first.

Work on the system of automatic mobile communications called "Altai", it began in 1958. In the city of Voronezh in Voronezh Research Institute of Communications (VNIIS) were created by the subscriber stations (in other words, the actual phones) and base stations for communicating with them. Antenna systems have been developed at the Moscow State Specialized Design Institute (SSDI), the same place where born Soviet television. Above the other components of the "Altai" working people of Leningrad, and later joined the company from Belarus and Moldova. Experts from different parts of the Soviet Union have joined forces to create a completely unique at the time the product - automatic mobile communications.

"Altai" was to become a full-fledged phone installed in your car. According to it, just be able to talk as the usual phone (ie, the sound travels in both directions at the same time, the so-called full duplex). To make a call to another "Altai" or regular phone, it was enough just to dial a number - like on a desktop telephone, without switching channels or talk with the dispatcher.

To realize this possibility when the then technical level was not easy. Digital communication, of course, was not yet; voice broadcasting the usual way. But apart from the voice, it was necessary to transmit special signals, by which the system could find itself free radio, to communicate, to transmit the dialed telephone number, etc.

It seems natural to us now simply dial a number on a cell phone buttons. And in 1963, when Moscow launched a pilot zone of the "Altai", this phone in the car makes an indelible impression. The developers tried to make it as much as possible like the usual machines: the "Altai" was a tube, and in some models - even drive to dial. However, the disc was soon abandoned and replaced it with the buttons as tapped in the car appeared uncomfortable.



"Altai". Phone 60s.

Party and economic leaders were delighted by the new system. Car telephones soon appeared in "Zilahi" and "The Seagull" the upper echelons of the Soviet leadership. They were followed and "Volga" Directors of the most important companies.

"Altai" certainly was not a complete cellular system. Initially, a city with suburbs serviced by only a single base station with sixteen radio channels. But for a small number of senior officers, which was available as a mobile telephone, it initially lacked.

The system uses a frequency range of 150 MHz - is the frequency of the same order as the TV meter range. Therefore, an antenna mounted on a high tower, enabling the linking to a distance of tens of kilometers.

A similar system in the US, IMTS (Improved Mobile Telephone Service), was launched in the experimental area a year later. And its commercial launch took place only in 1969. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union by 1970 "Altai" has been installed and successfully operating for approximately 30 cities!

Speaking of the system IMTS. The description of this system is a very interesting paragraph.

In the 70s and the early 80s, before the introduction of cellular phones, there were «waiting lists» of up to three years for those wishing to have mobile telephone service. These potential subscribers were literally waiting for other subscribers to disconnect their subscription in order to obtain a mobile telephone number and mobile phone service.

I translate:

In the 70s and early 80s before using cellular existed "waiting lists" of up to 3 years, for those who have mobile communications. Potential subscribers were forced to wait until the current subscribers disconnected from the network to get a phone number and the mobile phone network service.

Queues! Lists! Number plates! Here it is, Cursed Scoop © !!!

Of course, such severe restrictions were caused by a limited number of radio channels. But I especially pay attention to it, that the readers would understand that such a system could not be mass purely for technical reasons, not because of someone's malicious intent.

For this reason, the system phones were very expensive (from 2 to 4 thousand dollars) and minute call cost from 70 cents to 1.2 US dollar. Most phones were taken on loan from the company rather than purchased.

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