The mobile phone (also called a wireless phone or cellular phone) is a short-range, portable electronic device used for mobile voice or data communication over a network of specialized base stations known as cell sites. In addition to the standard voice function of a telephone, current mobile phones may support many additional services, and accessories, such as SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, gaming, bluetooth, infrared, camera with video recorder and MMS for sending and receiving photos and video. Most current mobile phones connect to a cellular network of base stations (cell sites), which is in turn interconnected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) (the exception is satellite phones).
According to internal memos, American Telephone & Telegraph discussed developing a wireless phone in 1915, but were afraid deployment of the technology could undermine its monopoly on wired service in the U.S.
The first commercial mobile phone service was launched in Japan by NTT in 1978. By November 2007, the total number of mobile phone subscriptions in the world had reached 3.3 billion, or half of the human population (although some users have multiple subscriptions, or inactive subscriptions), which also makes the mobile phone the most widely spread technology and the most common electronic device in the world.
The first mobile phone to enable internet connectivity and wireless email, the Nokia Communicator, was released in 1996, creating a new category of multi-use devices called smartphones. In 1999 the first mobile internet service was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan under the i-Mode service. By 2007 over 798 million people around the world accessed the internet or equivalent mobile internet services such as WAP and i-Mode at least occasionally using a mobile phone rather than a personal computer.