Recently I was sent a lavish document celebrating 50 years of mobile telephony, by a large Swedish company – well, obviously, Ericsson. 50 years? you say. Well, AT&T offered a primitive service in 1946, in which quite simply you called an operator and they would ask on a common radio frequency for the subscriber desired, then, should they answer, patch you into the radio circuit. It was crude, insecure (everyone could hear), clumsy (you had to know where the called party was), relied on manual operation, but it was mobile telephony of a sort.
The theoretical principles of cellular radio were discovered in 1948 at Bell Labs, but would have to wait 30 years for electronics to progress far enough to make them practical. So how did Swedish public housing help to make it happen?