10 interesting facts to celebrate World Telecommunications Day

world telecommunications day

Can you imagine your life without calling your loved ones and colleagues or sending important emails to customers, business partners, and friends? Did you ever think about how important communication is in your daily activities? It is an integral part of your life. Yet, to communicate freely and seamlessly, you need tools and solutions – you need telecommunications. 

Unsurprisingly, we have a special day – 17th May – to celebrate the Telecommunications and Information Society. Its purpose is to highlight the key role of communication and information technologies (ICT) in our lives and our societies’ development. 

World Telecommunication Day marks the constant evolution of communication technology and increases awareness of digital inequalities among countries. It focuses on the possibilities technology brings into our daily life – specifically, the Internet’s and ICT’s benefits. This special day reminds us to keep bridging the digital divide and accelerating digital transformation.

Some interesting facts about Telecommunications

1. World Telecommunications Day was celebrated for the first time in 1965 to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union. An organization that is a successor of the International Telegraph Union (founded in 1865). The latter was actively involved in all the great breakthroughs in communications, including:

• the invention of the telephone in 1876
• the launch of the first satellite in 1957
• the birth of the Internet in the 60s

2. The first text message, later known as a short message service or SMS, was sent in 1992 by Neil Papworth. It simply said, “Merry Christmas”.

3. The first Voice Over Internet (VoIP) was made in 1974, when Lincoln Lab and Culler Harrison, Inc successfully transmitted voice data packets to one another. Two years later, they conducted the first conference call (1976).

VOIP on Old Typewriter's Keys

4. People use their mobile phones to check the time.

5. The Nokia beeping tone that announces you got an SMS on your mobile phone is a Morse Code for short text messages.

6. The telephone invention is the most profitable and popular technical innovation in United States history. Keep in mind how vast its territory is, and the phone introduction has been a key factor in simplifying communication across the country.

7. International calls are rarely transmitted via satellite nowadays. Instead, most are sent over fiber optics and VoIP, which significantly improves the network and sound quality.

8. Back in the day, telephone wires were chosen based on how tasty mice found them. The less tasty the wire, the greater the chance to be used, as the possible damage by mice seemed lower.

9. Connecting the first phone line between New York and San Francisco took almost a year. Over 25000 km of copper wires and 140 000 telephone poles were used.

10. The first “smartphone” is considered IBM SIMON, released in 1993. It had a calendar, fax, touchscreen, and other modern communication features.

telecommunications evolution

We have come a long way in telecommunications since the first call was made in 1876. The way ICT and telecommunications have shaped our lives goes beyond the people’s imagination, whose inventions started the whole technical revolution. 

Yet, the work is not over regarding digital transformation and telecommunications’s role. In the challenging times we live in, it is obvious that global access to telecommunications has to be improved. We are responsible for reducing technological inequality between nations and thus support sustainable economic growth and social development.

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