History of GSM and how it changed the phone technology

In 1982 the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunication created a committee, named Groupe Special Mobile based in Paris, began to develop an European standard for digital cellular  voice telecommunications.

In 1987 memorandum of understanding is signed by 13 European countries to develop and deploy a common cellular telephone system across Europe that will pass all EU rules and regulations.

GSM will be a mandatory standard by all the EU rules. The result was unified, open, standard-based network that was bigger than that in the USA.

The first GSM Technical Specification was developed in February.




Ministers from the four big EU countries gave full political support to GSM with the Bonn Declaration in May. The GSM memorandum of understanding was marked for signature in September 1987 which made many mobile operators in EU invest in GSM. That helped GSM grow and start up fast.

In 1989, Groupe Special Mobile was transferred to the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI).

In Juli 1, 1991 the world’s first GSM call was made by the Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri to Kaarina Suonio mayor from the city Tampere on a network built by Telenokia and Siemens.

In 1992, the first short messaging service SMS message was sent and Telecom Finland and Vodafone UK signed the first international roaming agreement.

In 1993, network working on a frequency of 1800 MHz became operational in UK, Telecom Australia became first operator to deploy GSM network outside Europe and the first hand held  GSM mobile phone became available.

In 1995, the first GSM network working on 1900 MHz became operational in USA fax,data and SMS services were launched commercially, and GSM Association was formed.

In 1996, Pre-paid GSM SIM were launched.

In 1998, GSM passed 100 million subscribers.

In 2000, first GPRS compatible headsets became available for sale, and first commercial GPRS services  were launched.

In 2001, the first 3G network which was not part of GSM launched, it’s called UMTS.

In 2002, the first multimedia messaging service or MMS was implemented in the GSM network working on frequency of 800MHz

In 2005, GSM network had accounted more than 75% of the world cellular network market with 1.5 billion subscribers, and the first HSDPA network became operational.

In 2008, GSM subscribers exceeded three billion.

In 2010, by GSM Association,technologies in the GSM standard serve 80% of the global mobile market, with more than 5 billion subscribers in 212 countries and territories, making GSM the most present standard for cellular networks.

GSM is second generation standard or 2G, employing TDMA time division multiply access spectrum sharing made by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. The GSM standard does not have 3G UMTS CDMA technology nor the 4G LTE OFDMA issued by 3GPP

In June 4 2015, Macau will phase out it’s 2G GSM networks, making it the first region to withdrawn a GSM network and will do the same in April 2017.

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