Soon after the Lauhrén system had started, Ragnar Berglund was given the task of developing a more up-to-date system based on a patent he had developed. The most important innovations involved the inclusion of control crystals and transistors.

Tests of a trial assembly for the Berglund Mobile Telephone System (which later became known as Mobile Telephone System B, or MTB) with two radio channels and 13 mobile stations began in Stockholm in 1961. The frequencies allocated to this system were in the 80 MHz band. A crossover filter made it possible to use the same antenna for transmitting and receiving.

This time tests and development work took three years, 1962–1965, before the Berglund system could start operating commercially in Stockholm and Gothenburg, followed two years later by Malmö. Berglund’s system eventually meant the weight of the carphones could be reduced to 10 kilograms; they were supplied by SRA and AGA.

The cars of the Swedish Security Police (Säpo) were equipped with Berglund telephones when Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, visited Sweden in 1964. Håkan Sterky, director-general of Televerket, had the system in his official car (which could be identified by its MTB license plate. The director-general’s handset was a “Cobra” telephone specially adapted by Ericsson and provided with an illuminated dial.

From then on, there were two different mobile telephone systems operating in Sweden. Many places expressed their desire for a mobile network. Early in the 1950s, there had already been suggestions about a mobile network that covered the most important roads. But Televerket hesitated. Neither the Lauhrén nor the Berglund system were suitable for large-scale applications, partly because they used the radio spectrum far too inefficiently. Those in the know at Televerket say neither system generated any profit, despite the large costs for subscribers.

Instead, local and regional initiatives were taken privately. The first and largest individual mobile telephone network in Sweden was established by Wikanders Ur & Optik in Jönköping in 1964. The owner, Per Erik Petterson, acquired mobile equipment from AGA. The company received a permit from Televerket to use certain radio frequencies and about 10 different locations in central Sweden were linked together with the calls being connected manually.

This company later changed its name to Telelarm, and from 1969 it had a nationwide network with about 500 subscribers. Together with mobile phone calls, it offered, for instance, secretarial services, order monitoring and ticket-booking services as well.

Author: Svenolof Karlsson & Anders Lugn

Car phone

Car phone

BERGLUNDS CAR PHONE SYSTEM

A car equipped with Berglund’s system. The three men pictured separately are Ragnar Berglund, Sture Lauhrén and Rolf Langborger.