Mobile telephony becomes the norm and – affordable! The mass phenomenon of digital mobile communication starts at the beginning of the 1990s. Mobile phones change society’s communication behaviour. For a few decades it had already been possible to phone while on the road using the A, B and C networks. However, this was a luxury reserved for a few select users. The devices were large, heavy and, most importantly, expensive. The history of mobile communication took a turn in 1992 with the start of the D network. A rough start at first as Telekom’s D1 network is released after a one-year delay. But then D1 and D2 from then operator Mannesmann really pick up steam: at the beginning of 1993 the two D networks have some 200,000 customers in Germany; and by the end of the year almost 970,000 – a 500% increase within a single year!
Kathrein becomes a Key Supplier for Mobile Network Operators
This development is similar in other industrial nations: Kathrein again chooses the winning horse. Mobile service providers are forced to expand their networks continuously given the rapidly growing number of users – and they do so with Kathrein as one of their key suppliers. The volume of mobile communication antennas for base stations shipped grows considerably from year to year. By the end of the 1990s the Rosenheim based company has sold about one million antenna systems the world over.
At the beginning of the new millennium mobile communication experiences a new spurt with the introduction of UMTS. UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, a mobile communication standard which is introduced as 3G (third generation) in 2004. The fast transfer rate of UMTS is the beginning of the rapid development of additional functions for mobile phones. Videos, web-based applications, apps and e-mail are possible with UMTS and can be implemented with sufficient speed. Kathrein advances this new mobile communication standard with its antenna systems, and the same applies a few years later with LTE technology (4G).