Mobile Telephone – The Most Important Invention of the 20th Century?

Depending on who you ask, the mobile telephone is either the greatest invention of the twentieth century or the most annoying. It is undeniable that the technology behind the mobile phone is one of the greatest inventions and that advances in technology keep making the cell phone more and more a must have device.

Mobile telephones have changed the world of communication. From the first call made in 1946 on one of only a handful of portable phones to any one of the millions, probably billions of calls made today, the mobile or cell phone has changed the course of communication forever.

Day to Day Life

Before the invention of the cell phone people went about their daily lives in a constant state of questioning – even if they didn’t realize they were doing so. When a friend or family member went on vacation they wondered if the trip was made safely. When a child left for college parents wondered if they made it without car trouble. It is doubtful that people even realized they were always in a state of questioning.

The mobile phone changed all of the questioning. Now, mothers could call and find out if their children made it to their destination without any mishaps. Husbands could tell their wives when they were running late.

If they weren’t wondering about someone’s whereabouts they were wishing they had remembered to tell them something before they were away from their office or home phone. Perhaps it was to stop and pick up the kids or to go by the bank because they loan officer called. Whatever the reason, before the invention of the cell phone, they would have to wait to see them and then send them back out to take care of the issue.

Mobile phones have made keeping in touch across long distances easier than ever before. For the most part, the cost of calling across long distances is much less expensive using mobile phones than it is using land lines. Many cell phone plans have free long distance.


Cell phones have changed access to emergency services. Car accidents are called in by more than one person on most occasions and help can be dispatched to the scene faster than ever before. Having the power go out or phones lines cut by an intruder no longer leaves a person in isolation, they have the cell phone for calling out.

Cell phone service has been responsible for saving more lives than has been accounted for. Were someone attempt to put a number on it, it would undoubtedly be in the millions, simply due to being able to contact help no matter where you are located. Doctors can now stay in touch with their answering service at all times, making them more available in the event of emergencies.

Cell phones have become key pieces of equipment in search and rescue operations. The chances are very good that a person who gets lost will have a cell phone. The cell phone can be geographically traced using navigation tools and GPS which is built into most new cell phones. There have been numerous cases of hikers lost in the woods who were only found due their cell phones.

Law Enforcement

This same navigation/GPS technology that makes it easy to find lost people also makes it easier for law enforcement to track down fugitives or missing children. More often than not, criminals forget that cell phones can be traced. They leave invisible footprints in their wake for police and others to follow. These footsteps, in the form of pings sent to communication towers from their phones also become important in prosecuting cases.

In addition to tracking down criminals, law enforcement now finds out about crimes faster than ever before. The hesitant citizen who doesn’t want to get involved physically involved in a happening crime will most often call it in to the police. This gives law enforcement a head start on catching criminals.

Cell phones that include video recording can actually film the crime as it happens, offering evidence that is irrefutable in court.

Business Communication

Gone are the days when a business deal is lost because of not being in the office. Nowadays, business deals can be sealed even when on vacation. The mobile telephone has made the office open 24 hours a day in some cases. Being out of the office is no longer an option because most business people are tethered to their office through their cell phones.

Technology has brought the office to the cell phone with the addition of smart phones and email via the telephone. Documents can be sent, reviewed and sent back all while being on the go.

The Flip Side

On the other side of the cell phone debate are those who argue that cell phones monopolize people’s time. With cell phones the work day is never over and time spent with family or friends can be constantly interrupted unless the device is powered off.

There are safety issues as well with cell phones. Drivers who can’t wait until they are stopped to have a conversation run a much greater risk of being in an accident. Using an earpiece helps the problem but does not eliminate it because the focus is still on the conversation.

Another safety concern that is still up for debate is whether or not they are bad for overall health. Some doctors claim that having a cell phone up to your ear constantly can cause brain tumors. While the jury is still out on a definite answer, it is worth looking into.

Then there is the rude factor. Diners enjoying a quiet, relaxing dinner most certainly don’t want to hear what is going on in other people’s lives and cell phones have done just that. Most people don’t exercise proper phone etiquette and the buzz, ring or tones of cell phones can be heard just about anywhere you go. The Future

As technology makes advancements in the options and features available on cell phones they become more and more important to daily activities. Banking, bill paying, and more are able to be done while on the go and running errands. The cell phone has made down time more productive. Parents waiting on school to let out can do their banking or check their home email.

Those who argue against them are fighting what seems to be a losing battle. Not only are they here to stay, but they are advancing in what they are able do. Today’s world has been shaped and will continue to be shaped by the cell phone.