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The mobile phone turns 40

Yesterday the mobile phone turned 40 years old — though you wouldn’t know it from the way it just keeps getting thinner and sleeker.

On April 3, 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made the first mobile call, using a Motorola DynaTAC. The DynaTAC cost US $4,000, weighed about a kilogram, and had a 20-minute battery life. Cooper apparently used the call to advise rival Bell Labs that he’d them to it.

The far reaching implications of this technological breakthrough are still registering today, and the rivalries between competing mobile companies have hardly disappeared. In Australia, where mobile phones now outnumber people, telcos figure as one of the most exciting industries, with some of the fastest growers TPG Telecom (ASX: TPM), which gained some 50,000 new mobile customers in the first half of 2013, and iiNet (ASX: IIN), which has outperformed the S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) by some 160% in the last five years.

Yet perhaps more familiar to investors is Telstra, Australia’s largest telco, with its shares held by some 1.4 million retail investors. What does the future hold for this giant — and should you buy, sell or hold Telstra shares? Get a top analyst’s latest Telstra recommendation in our brand-new investment report. Click here now, your copy is FREE!

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The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Catherine Baab-Muguira does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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