First cellphone call was made 40 years ago on a $3,995 phone

Published: Wednesday, April 3 2013 11:20 a.m. MDT

Forty years ago today, a call was placed that would eventually change the way Americans communicate: the first cellphone call.

Calling from Motorola’s DynaTAC phone while standing in front of the New York Hilton, Martin Cooper called the head of research at Bell Labs — Motorola’s competitor to build the first cellphone, according to an article by CNET.

Though the call was first made in 1973, mobile phones didn’t go on sale until 1984.

From the start, mobile phones were an even larger investment than today. A DynaTAC 8000x cost $3,995 initially with a $50 monthly fee. Additional costs came from 40 cents-per-minute voice calls during peak time or 24 cents in off-peak times.

During that time of higher costs in the '80s, far fewer people owned cellphones. Today, cellphone costs are responsible for an increasing amount of the average American’s monthly budget, according to an article by Forbes.

In 2001, Americans spent $210 per year on average for cellphone service, according to Forbes, less than $20 per month. But in 2010, about $760 per year was spent on average, which is about $63 per month. More changes in prices are expected With T-Mobile's announcement of simple plans without contracts last week.

Even though cellphone costs increased 15 percent in that period of time, overall household costs grew only 2 percent within the same time frame, the Forbes article said.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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