The Cellular Communication Industry

By: Minal Ghayur & Neriman Nassir

History of the Communications Industry

Canada’s major contribution to the communication industry was the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in Brantford, Ontario. It was Alexander Bell’s telephone that began the telecommunication industry in Canada.

When the first mobile phone was released to the public in 1982, not many people caught on to the invention because of the outrageous price and excessive bulkiness of the first model. The first ever mobile phone system was called the mobile telephone system A, or MTA. The system allowed for automated connection from a rotary handset (that’s the circular dialing knob) mounted within a car, but required an operator to forward calls. It was commercially released only in Sweden in 1956. It was the first of its kind however, the biggest disadvantage of this prototype was that it weighed over ninety pounds. This became the main reason why the prototype did not gain popularity. In 1965 the MTA was evolved into the MTB also know as the ‘mobile network’. This was a upgraded version that was now complete with transitions as well as DTMF signaling. The upgraded model weighed significantly less than the original prototype, however it still weighed approximately twenty one pounds. Even though this failed in Sweden, it was soon picked up by companies in America who saw that the technology could eventually work and become a booming industry.

Technological Advances Within The Industry (Blackberry)

in 1999, Blackberry released their first phone. Supporting email and limited HTML browsing, the small device featured a monochrome screen. The BlackBerry 5810 was the first model with phone capabilities but a headset was required.

in 2008, The Bold line of smartphones constitutes perhaps the best devices the company has ever made. The first Bold devices, featuring BlackBerry’s distinctive keyboard, was released in 2008, when the company was still the leading smartphone powerhouse.

In 2013, The first of BlackBerry’s new generation of smartphones. Released earlier this year, the Z10 is a high-end touch screen device designed to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line. So far, however, the Z10 has not sold particularly well, even though it was the most innovated phone of its year.

New Processes


The distribution process for the cellular communication industry has advanced greatly from the 1900's. Currently millions of phones are sold in canada per year and can be found and made from all around the world. Manufacturing these devices takes place in locations such as parts of Southeastern Asia. They also can be assembled in locations such as California, Brazil, and other US states. Once the products are made they can be sent directly to the retailer and can be sold. The retailer can vary from a physical store (apple, microsoft), a kiosk (service providers), an external seller (Best Buy, Rogers, Bell, Fido, Wind, etc), and/or an online store.


The creation of the phone was meant for making calls and vocal communication but over the year this has changed because phones have become mobile. The purpose of talking continues to be a factor but advancements have added features, and advanced softwares. As the function of the phone have changed over the years the process of making it has changed as well. In the early years of the invention labour was limited and phones were made by hand. Currently companies reach out to developing countries to make their products as the labour costs are low. The manufacturing process is labour intensive but technology also aided in the process of making these devices. Millions of dollars are spent on technology that is used in factories that make these products and as the world advances more roles will be given to technology. In 1982 very few individuals took the interest to make the brick phone. Currently every telecommunication company hires multiple engineers and software specialist to analyze and innovate the phone.

New Attitudes and Trends

Environmental Awareness

Every year telecommunication companies come out with new and improved phones that replaces the phones from the previous years. The telecommunication industry has one of the lowest recycling rates and every 18 months billions of phones are thrown out. The environmental impacts of these phones have taken up 80% of their global environmental footprint in the industry. The waste of these phones end up in landfills and or are releasing toxins and other pollutants into the air. These alarming numbers have recently come to the attention of phone companies, who are now coming out with ‘greener phones’. As phone companies continue to release phones every year they innovate their products and packaging so that they are slowly reducing their global footprint. Companies like Blackberry, Apple, Samsung and Nokia have all introduced recycling services in their store locations. These companies are innovating their products to make them more environmentally friendly. By reducing their greenhouse gas emissions from their fatores and reducing the number of chemicals and substances that are used to create a less hazardous product. Companies are now making efforts to present themselves in a more eco friendly manner. The GreenPeace guide to greener electronics rates cellular communications industries at how eco friendly they are. In 2013 Nokia stands at 3rd place, Apple at 6th, Samsung at 7th, and Blackberry stands at 16th place. The future of the telecommunications industry holds a great value of eco friendly product as customers become more aware of the issue. Environmental Awareness in this industry continues to advance as it is part of every company's mission statement.

Health Concerns

Cancer Through Radiation:

Some health conscious individuals are careful with their phones as health reports often indicate that cellular devices can let out radiation that can cause dangerous health effects such as cancer. Out of fear people keep their phone away from them and use them as little as possible. At the same time offical disease control and prevention centres have announced that there is no direct correlation between cell phones and cancer. Whether this is true or not these devices continue to stay as the most popular products in the market.


Another danger of cellphones is the alarming increase of accidents. Varying from car crashes to social media influenced incidents. In Canada, ‘driver distraction is responsible for up to 80% of motor vehicle collisions, and cell phone use is becoming a prevalent mode of distraction’. These accidents have caused the OPP and other provinces in canada to enforce the Distracted Drivers Campaign in hopes to remind drivers of the dangers and penalties of using cellular devices while driving.

Electromagnetic Interference:

Most individuals do not apprehend the danger of electromagnetic interferences. Electromagnetic rays may interfere with medical products such as hearing aids, and aircraft electronics. These effects are severe enough to cause fatal danger to individuals that are affected. Many precautions are taken but phones are still used in these areas. This may be unsafe but individual ignore these dangers and continue to use them.

Social Awareness

The cellular communications industry has become one of the fastest growing industry and has become very popular in the eye of its market. Companies involve themselves in social activities and statements that portray how they are socially responsible. In the early years having a CSR report in this industry was not important but today every company takes part in creating a CSR initiative. The CSR of the company attracts customers to their products.


Apple claims that, “to make truly great products, we feel it’s crucial to build them in ways that are ethical and environmentally responsible.” This statement implies that they work to be as environmentally and ethically friendly with their products and workers. They also have youth programs and camps that allow kids to be introduced to the technology and to work creatively. Apple uses these activities to be socially responsible.


In 2013 Samsung was announced to be the winner of the best corporate social responsibility initiative. The initiative called Solve for Tomorrow is part of Samsung's Hope for Children Campaign blew up in the media and is now recognised is the ideal CSR initiative.


Rogers has multiple policies that display them as an ethically and environmentally responsible company and is well renowned in its market. Rogers also provides many programs/ initiatives that are aimed towards disabled individuals, children and youth, and caters to the needs of adults.