Where technology brought us 

Vickroy's of Monmouth
120 E Archer Ave
Monmouth, IL 61462

Evans Manufacturing
4608 W 78 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Martin Equipment
Rock Island, IL 61201

Clinton Community College
Muscatine Community College
Scott Community college

United Personnel, Inc
1921 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

KDi Corporation
P.O. Box 1342
Bettendorf, IA 52722

5115 Utica Ridge Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Careers, Inc
807 W 35 St
Davenport, IA

Midwest Human Resources
4601 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Volt Services Group
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 404
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

`Clunky' cellular phones cheaper, fit in hand

By Dustin Lemmon, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

It has been 16 years since the first cellular phones were introduced in Chicago. Cellular users -- who have seen the shapes and sizes of the phones change over the years -- say the technology has come along way since its beginning.

Tom Brammann, who has owned River City Communications in Davenport for more than 20 years, said technology has taken the portable phone business from pre-cellular car phones to pocket size, hand-held phones.

Mr. Brammann said the first portable phones were nothing like the ones used today.

``They were big clunky phones that had to be installed in a vehicle,'' he said. ``They were basically like wire phones in a vehicle.''

Phones since have improved in quality and convenience, Mr. Brammann said. ``The coverage has greatly improved. Hand-held portable cellular phones are more useful now than they were then,'' he said.

Mr. Brammann said the construction of more cellular stations has extended the coverage range for cellular users.

The phones are also less expensive than they were in 1983, when only a handful of people were introduced to the service.

``The first mobile phones were between $1,500 and $2,000,'' Mr. Brammann said. Now ``75 percent of the phones that are available are absolutely free with new line activation.''

Mr. Brammann said early mobile phones were less private, with most calls going through an answering service for connection.

Paul Gill, purchasing manager for U.S. Cellular, said the first mobile phone users were high-end businessmen.

He said dividing cellular companies into ``Metropolitan Statistical Areas'' and ``Rural Service Areas'' helped encourage competition, by placing two competing cellular businesses in each region.

The introduction of a second band of cellular frequencies has made room for even more competing businesses, placing up to six cellular companies in Chicago. The Quad-Cities is served by three cellular companies -- U.S. Cellular, GTE and Iowa Wireless.

Phone companies are also moving away from the traditional analog phones, Mr. Brammann said, finding digital technology provides more space for cellular users.

``You have a fixed number of channels,'' he explained. ``With analog you can only have one call at a time. Digital gives you three calls per channel at any given time. That's three times the carrying capacity.''

Mr. Gill said most carriers ``will stop or greatly reduce the number of analog phone sales they offer.

`` Analog is on it's way out, but it will still be around for some time,'' he said. ``There are still a number of analog users out there.''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.