The Motorola Corporation dominated the early decades of cell phone production in the United States, largely due to the contract work it performed for the U.S. military, which had held the technology hostage since the 1920s. The Federal Communications Commission approved commercial cell phone use in the early 1980s, and on 6 March 1983, after 15 years and $100,000,000 US Dollars (USD) of research, Motorola unveiled the first commercially available mobile device, the analog DynaTAC 8000X. Its iconic oversize profile stood 13 inches (or 33 cm) tall and 3.5 inches (or 88.9 mm) thick, weighing in at nearly 2 lbs. (or 0.9 kg).
The company had a prototype of the DynaTAC completed as early as 1973, but without the permission to sell it to ordinary citizens. This period, before and just after Motorola's commercial release, is considered the first generation of cellular networks, or "first gen." Cell phone service providers in 2011 regularly boast of 4G, or "fourth generation," coverage.
The Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage (DynaTAC) mobile device needed a vast antenna network to accomplish its goal of go-anywhere communications. The first two networks to offer cell phone service for this phone in the United States took shape later in 1983. One was in Chicago, a partnership between Motorola and the Illinois Bell phone company. The second network to offer service for this mobile device took root in the Washington, DC, area and was controlled by the American Radio Telephone Service and Motorola. By the early 1990s, every major American city had cell phone coverage, though not with the reliability of modern 4G networks.
By this time, other phone manufacturers like Nokia and IBM had begun to introduce alternative models of the mobile device. This ended Motorola's longtime monopoly on the product, at least in the United States. It was the Northern European countries of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark that actually boast of having the first commercial cellular network, though, with radio devices made by the Ericsson Corporation that were far from mobile. This happened in 1981, two years earlier than in the United States.
Nevertheless, some believe the dawn of truly mobile communications was not until 1989, when Motorola released the first undeniably hand-held phone — the MicroTAC 9800X with the first flip-phone dial pad. Until then, most of the company's cell phones were installed in vehicles, since they could not be carried comfortably in a pocket. In 1992, the company hit another milestone, when it released the first digital cell phone, the Motorola International 3200.