1G, which stands for "first generation," refers to the first generation of wireless telecommunication technology, more popularly known as cellphones. A set of wireless standards developed in the 1980’s, 1G technology replaced 0G technology, which featured mobile radio telephones and such technologies as Mobile Telephone System (MTS), Advanced Mobile Telephone System (AMTS), Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS), and Push to Talk (PTT).
Unlike its successor, 2G, which made use of digital signals, 1G wireless networks used analog radio signals. Through 1G, a voice call gets modulated to a higher frequency of about 150MHz and up as it is transmitted between radio towers. This is done using a technique called Frequency-Division Multiple Access (FDMA).
In terms of overall connection quality, 1G compares unfavorably to its successors. It has low capacity, unreliable handoff, poor voice links, and no security at all since voice calls were played back in radio towers, making these calls susceptible to unwanted eavesdropping by third parties.
However, 1G did maintain a few advantages over 2G. In comparison to 1G’s analog signals, 2G’s digital signals are very reliant on location and proximity. If a 2G handset made a call far away from a cell tower, the digital signal may not be strong enough to reach it. While a call made from a 1G handset had generally poorer quality than that of a 2G handset, it survived longer distances. This is due to the analog signal having a smooth curve compared to the digital signal, which had a jagged, angular curve. As conditions worsen, the quality of a call made from a 1G handset would gradually worsen, but a call made from a 2G handset would fail completely.
Different 1G standards were used in various countries.
Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) was a 1G standard used in the United States.
Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) was a 1G standard used in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), as well as in its neighboring countries Switzerland and Netherlands, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
Italy used a telecommunications system called RTMI.
In the United Kingdom, Total Access Communication System (TACS) was used.
France used Radiocom 2000.
In West Germany, Portugal, and South Africa, a telecommunications system known as C-450 was used.
Two competing systems in Japan, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) and DDI, developed various standards: NTT developed TZ-801, TZ-802 and TZ-803, while DDI developed a standard called Japan Total Access Communications System (JTACS).