The acronym original stood for Groupe Spécial Mobile, and was changed to Global Standard for Mobile several years later as the technology, originally intended for use only in Europe, was adopted worldwide.
At the time there were several competing analogue technologies: in particular the European NMT system and the US AMPS system, which both Australia and New Zealand adopted. When the time came to decide on a digital technology Australia's regulator Austel opted for GSM, but it was by no means an easy decision. New Zealand went for the digital version of the AMPS system but that technology failed to achieve a global role and the network was shut down some years ago.
According to Wikipedia, phase I of the GSM specifications were published in 1990, and the world's first GSM call was made by the Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri to Kaarina Suonio (mayor in city of Tampere) on 1 July 1991 on a network built by Telenokia and Siemens and operated by Radiolinja.
There is now a web site www.gsm-history.org dedicated to the history of GSM where the original MoU can found along with many other documents. http://www.gsm-history.org/fileadmin/user_upload/GSM_MoU/GSM_MOU_1987.pdf
For those interested in a more in-depth and personal history of the evolution of GSM one of those intimately involved in the process, Stephen Temple, published in 2010 'Inside The Mobile Revolution', available as a free download.
According to his foreword his election as chairman of the Technical Assembly of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in 1988 "provided an excellent vantage point as GSM went through its transition from a policy to a new born infant digital mobile industry."
He says that his account of the events leading up to the signing of the MoU in Copenhagen was written within 12 months "simply a means of unwinding on holiday in the French Alps from a tumultuous 18 months...[and] went straight into a drawer."
He adds "Shortly after the launch of GSM (in 1991) would have been an ideal time to publish the story...[but] was no way it would have got official approval for publication without ripping out the very heart of the story – the political dynamics. The story was to remain hidden behind the [UK's] Official Secrets Act for the next 17 years gathering dust."
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