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Makhanu W. Gellus

Information Technology

23th May, 2018


Impact of Mobile Phones on Society

One of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century was the mobile phone. Life has

really changed since mobile phones entered the market. Around 62 percent of the world’s

population was using mobile phones by 2016. The number of users has probably increased today

and it is possible that the users by the end of 2019 will surpass the 5 billion mark worldwide. A

significant part of the world today cannot do without their phones even for a few hours a day.

The first mobile phone to be manufactured actually weighed around two kilograms. With the

advancements in technology, today's’ phones only weigh a few grams and it would not bother

anyone carrying them anywhere with them. Mobile phones have transformed the lives of

societies around the world due to the ease of communication they came with. With the

advancements, in technology, phones today are capable of performing tasks that no one could

have ever thought of in the past three decades. This paper gives an overview of the research that

led to the commercial production of mobile phones. It further explores how mobile phones work

and the impact they have had on the society for all the years since they were introduced.

History for the development of mobile phones

Since the beginning of civilization, the need for human beings to communicate over long

distances has always existed. However, over the centuries the engineers of the time had no quick,

efficient and convenient way of making this dream come true to the world. Sine Alexander

Graham Bell invented the telephone, human beings felt the need to develop a device that one

could carry in their pockets as they walked around doing their daily chores. The depictions of a

device similar to mobile phones first appeared in the movie “Space Cadet” in 1948. In the film

the protagonist would communicate with his father using a telephone that would fit in his pocket.

Another individual in the history of the phone is Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke predicted the fact

that a device every man would carry around was to appear in the 1980s. Technology closely

similar to mobile phones also appeared during the Second World War where soldiers would

communicate using radiotelephones on the war fields. AT&T and some other companies started

to offering mobile telephone services in 1946 even though the devices were only availed in urban

centers with very limited coverage. In 1973 Martin Cooper and John F. Mitchell Demonstrated

the first ever handheld mobile phone. The handset weighed 2 kilograms. In 1979, Nippon

Telegraph and Telephone, in Japan launched the very first automated cellular network. In 1981,

Nordic Mobile Telephone started simultaneous systems in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and

Norway. Many other countries around the world followed this trend launching more systems.

However these used analog cellular technology even though they could support calls more

simultaneously (Ray, 2015). They are commonly referred to as the first generation systems.

Radiolinja in 1991 launched a digital mobile technology in Finland. These devices are frequently

referred to as the second generation and they sparked a lot of competition with the new operators

challenging the first generation incumbents. In 2001, NTT DoCoMo launched the third

generation devices in Japan. Was shortly followed by higher data transfer speeds and capacity

devices whose enhancements depended on high speed access family devices with 3.5G, 3G+

enhancements. Despite the better speed compared to the earlier devices, people still felt they

needed improved speeds as the 3g networks were always overwhelmed by growing bandwidth

applications for instance media streaming. Sprint in 2009 offered WiMAX standard

commercially made the fourth generation networks available with over tenfold speeds compared

to the third generation networks. Currently the standard type of phones widely used around the

world are smartphones and feature phones. Smartphones have internet connection and they have

overtaken the use of the earlier systems of mobile phones. Feature phones on the other hand are

those whose capabilities are limited to the extent that they contrast with the modern smartphones.

Apart from making voice calls and text messaging these phones could provide internet and

multimedia capabilities. Basic mobile phones and feature phones tend to a user interface and a

custom designed software whereas smartphone on the other hand use mobile operating systems

which generally share features across various gadgets.

How mobile phones work

Cell phones are an indispensable and universal tool in the modern world. It is possible to

talk to anyone around the globe anytime and also most anywhere. The working of a mobile

phone is not complicated. A mobile phone is not very different from a two-way radio. Cell phone

basically use radio waves in communication. These waves carry digitized data or audio in the

form of oscillating magnetic and electric fields. The oscillation rate of these waves is what is

normally referred to as frequency. Radio waves are responsible for carrying information which a

speed of light while traveling in air. Cell phones usually transmit radio waves in all directions

and can be absorbed or even reflected by the surrounding objects before reaching the cell tower

nearby. It is, therefore, possible that the body absorbs around half of the energy emitted by cell

phone anytime they make a call with their phone close to the head or any other body part. It

wastes a lot of the energy emitted by the phone leaving very little for communication. Cells

phones also have at least one antenna responsible for transmitting and receiving radio signals. It

not only converts electric signals into radio waves but also converts radio waves into electric


Some cell phones utilize the antenna both as the receiver and transmitter whereas other

models like iPhone 5 have multiple receiving and transmitting antennas. It consists of a radio

receiver and transmitter. Any time an individual calls their friend through the phone, their phone

converts their voice into an electrical signal that is transmitted via radio waves to the nearest

radio tower. Through the network of a cell tower, their friend’s phone then receives their radio

wave which the cell phone then converts to an electrical signal after which it is sent back to

sound again. This process keeps on repeating itself over time as individuals continue to talk. It is

the most basic function of mobile phones. However modern mobile phones like smartphones

exhibit additional features, for instance, playing games, audio player, camera, web surfing and

many more. There are also more sophisticated smartphones whose functions are not different

from portable computers.

Impact of mobile phones on society

Phones have evolved over the years and today they play the same role as personal

portable computers. The impacts phones have had on the society are not that much different

from those of computer technology. In the assessing the impact of the mobile phones on human

life, it is important to consider the role of the smartphones are more widely used as opposed to

the featured phones. One of the most significant impacts mobile phones have had on the society

is the healthcare field. Today systems of health are slowly moving towards new models focused

on integrated care procedures which are shared by various caregivers together with an

empowered role of the patient (Nasi et al. 2015). With the emergence of mobile technologies,

smartphones now play a critical role in the healthcare scenario. Its role is more prevalent in care

processes involved patients with an enhanced role for instance in supportive care for cancer.

Cancer patients like in this case can use smartphones for self-management. For example short

message services play a significant role in patient management activities in the developing

countries. With the rise of mobile technologies, patients can do more when it comes to taking

responsibility for their health. Medical practitioners can quickly complete their day to day tasks

with more flexibility as electronic health records can pair with mobile devices. It is also worth

noting that around 25 percent of the medical practitioners today use tablets, smartphones and

other mobile devices in delivering services to their patients. There are also numerous mobile

health apps available for the smartphones and tablets today (McCarthy, 2016). Around 93 percent

of doctors believe that the integration of for instance weight loss and tracking apps are helpful in

improving patient health. The power of mobile technology is also prevalent in the patient portal

apps, digital prescription and other developments all of which reinforce the healthcare field.

There is no doubt that with continued use and development of mobile technology, some of the

hard to manage conditions today will be an easier task to manage in the coming days.

In the past years, the use of mobile technology in education was a debatable issue in the

society. Even though there might be a few disadvantages of using technology in school, learning

institutions have proved its importance. Mobile technology has transformed several aspects of

the world’s education system (Saxena, 2018). Teachers today can share their resources and ideas

today through online platforms. Communication with one another around the world is now

possible, and they can easily share with others on how to deal with the challenges that come with

their work. It is helpful in refining their skills while giving their students the best. Such an

approach enhances teaching as a practice. The fact that students are exposed to smartphones at an

early age also helps them develop better research skills while still young. For instance, search

engines such as Google are key in developing the skills that all improve the learning experience

as well as quality.

Mobile technology has also enhanced the manner in which people conduct their business.

In the current business world, smartphones are a must-have for every entrepreneur. People

nowadays do not have to be tied to their offices, since they can stay in touch anyone and from

anywhere. Customers have better experiences with businesses from the fact that consumers

perform most of the searches online through their mobile devices. A customer can also through

their smartphones give feedback on products and services which ensures that they get the best of

services while businesses work on their inefficiencies to improve customer satisfaction (Smith,

2016). Payment is also now more accessible through mobile money. Customers and companies

can pay for their products through their mobile phones without having it go through the

traditional cheque clearing processes that would take days.

In summary, the need for the development of a mobile device was a longtime dream for

the previous generations. Mobile phones have broken the physical barriers to communication

that existed in the past. Today the world is like a small village, and one can communicate to

anyone on the planet at any time from anywhere. The first phone was developed in 1973 by

Martin Cooper and John Mitchell. The mobile phone has gone through a long evolution process

and can today perform most of the functions performed by computers. Mobile phone technology

has had a considerable impact on the healthcare industry, business and trade. With the continuous

development of mobile technology, the future can only be brighter.



McCarthy, K. (2016, December 15). What is the role of mobile devices in healthcare? Retrieved


Nasi, G., Cucciniello, M., & Guerrazzi, C. (2015). The Role of Mobile Technologies in Health

Care Processes: The Case of Cancer Supportive Care. Journal of Medical Internet

Research, 17(2), e26. doi:10.2196/jmir.3757

Ray, A. (2015, January 22). The History and Evolution of Cell Phones. Retrieved from

Saxena, S. (2018, May 1). How Important is use of Technology in Education. Retrieved from

Smith, J. (2016, November 19). Impact of Mobile Technology in Business Communication.

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