Milestone-Proposal talk:Mobile Radio Propagation Model “OKUMURA-curve” and First Commercialized Full-Scale Cellular Telephone System, 1968-1979

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Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Advocates’ Checklist

  1. Is proposal for an achievement rather than for a person? If the citation includes a person's name, have the proposers provided the required justification for inclusion of the person's name?
  2. Was proposed achievement a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement to an existing technology?
  3. Were there prior or contemporary achievements of a similar nature?
  4. Has the achievement truly led to a functioning, useful, or marketable technology?
  5. Is proposal adequately supported by significant references (minimum of five) such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books? At least one of the references from a peer-reviewed scholarly book or journal article. The full text of the material, not just the references, shall be present. If the supporting texts are copyright-encumbered and cannot be posted on the ETHW for intellectual property reasons, the proposers shall email a copy to the History Center so that it can be forwarded to the advocate. If the advocate does not consider the supporting references sufficient, the advocate may ask the proposer(s) for additional ones.
  6. Are the scholarly references sufficiently recent?
  7. Is proposed citation readable and understandable by the general public?
  8. Does the proposed plaque site fulfill the requirements?
  9. Is the proposal quality comparable to that of IEEE publications?
  10. Scientific and technical units correct? (e.g. km, mm, hertz, etc.) Are acronyms correct and properly upperercased or lowercased?
  11. Date formats correct as specified in Section 6 of Milestones Program Guidelines?,_Plaque_Locations

Reviewers’ Checklist

  1. Is suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?
  2. Is evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Plaque Citation?
  3. Does proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?
  4. Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

Original Citation Title and Text -- Administrator4 (talk) 16:09, 29 July 2022 (UTC)

Mobile Radio Propagation Model “OKUMURA-curve” and First Commercialized Full-Scale Cellular Telephone System, 1968-1979

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation/NTT DOCOMO, INC. (formerly Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation) established mobile radio propagation model “OKUMURA-curve” in 1968 and commercialized the full-scale cellular telephone system based on this model for the first time in the world in 1979. OKUMURA-curve have broadly utilized for the practical design of various radio systems including 1st - 5th generation mobile communications systems.

Advocate's Initial Review -- Dmichelson (talk) 04:46, 18 March 2022 (UTC)

The significance of the work is clear, but certain aspects need to be refined before this Milestone proposal can be submitted for History Committee approval.

The proposed citation

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation/NTT DOCOMO, INC. (formerly Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation) established mobile radio propagation model “OKUMURA-curve” in 1968 and commercialized the full-scale cellular telephone system based on this model for the first time in the world in 1979. OKUMURA-curve have broadly utilized for the practical design of various radio systems including 1st - 5th generation mobile communications systems.

violates many of the conventions for crafting acceptable milestones including placing too much emphasis on the corporate sponsor and conflating important ideas.

We must be clear that the purpose of a Milestone is to recognize and draw public attention to an engineering achievement, and the contributions of the profession. They are not awards, and should not be used to seek IEEE endorsement of a company's claim to priority.

We must also be clear that while a citation must stand on its own, the details can and will be elaborated upon in the corresponding Milestone web page.

Milestone proposals should be the result of historical scholarship, and should place the achievement in context. I am very concerned that the body of the proposal fails to explicitly mention that several other people were awarded the 2013 Charles Stark Draper prize including Dr. Thomas Haug (Nordic Mobile Telephony), Richard H. Frenkiel (AT&T Bell Labs), Dr. Joel S. Engel (AT&T Bell Labs), and Martin Cooper (Motorola) for “their pioneering contributions to the world’s first cellular telephone networks, systems, and standards.” NTT's work was pioneering, but not conducted in isolation.

I am also concerned that the proposal conflates the development of Okumura's path loss model with NTT DOCOMO's commercialization of the cellular telephone system. Mention of Hata is important because Okumura's hand drawn curves were insightful not particularly useful until Hata showed how they could be approximated by closed form expressions.

It is not appropriate to describe the 1979 system as belonging to NTT Docomo given that the Docomo subsidiary wasn't formed until 1992.

Okumura is a surname and should not be capitalized.

- - -

I suggest that the Milestone be split in two with one focusing on the Okumura-Hata model and the other focusing on NTT's cellular telephone system.

I have also identified an IEEE OU willing to sponsor the Okumura-Hata plaque so that this suggestion will not place undue financial pressure on the Section although responsibility for the dedication ceremony, etc. would still rest with the Section.

I further suggest that the following alternative citations that address the above concerns.

"In 1968, Okumura and his team revealed a predictable relationship between the signal loss on wireless links in urban and suburban environments and the relative placement of a base station and mobile unit. In 1978, Hata reduced these curves to formulas useful in numerical simulations. Since then, the Okumura-Hata path loss model has been an essential tool for the analysis of cellular radio systems." (64 words)

"In 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone launched the first commercial 800 MHz analog cellular phone service in Tokyo. Based on car phones rather than handsets, the service soon expanded to other major cities such as Osaka and Nagoya. Together with similar systems deployed in Europe and North America a few years later, the NTT system helped to launch the cellphone revolution." (61 words)

Re: Advocate's Initial Review -- Yukihiko Okumura (talk) 20:29, 18 March 2022 (UTC)

I would like to thank you very much for the initial review of this milestone proposal and for your valuable comments to refine the proposal.

As you pointed out, I recognized that there are problems caused by the combination of the contents related to the mobile radio propagation model “Okumura-curve” and the first commercial cellular telephone system in one milestone proposal. I also understand that in order to solve these problems, it is recommended to divide into two proposals corresponding to each content. I would like to thank you for your suggestions on the citation of each alternative proposal.

Regarding the above divided proposals, I would like to confirm the intention of Tokyo section, and I consider the description of each proposal corresponding to your comments. I would appreciate your continued support.

Re: Re: Advocate's Initial Review -- Yukihiko Okumura (talk) 18:16, 14 June 2023 (UTC)

(Report on the results of discussions among related organizations regarding the divided proposals)

I really appreciate your valuable comments on this Milestone proposal and positive suggestion for the split of the Milestone into two. In this report, I would like to share our decision on the way forward regarding the Milestone split. This decision has been made after a series of discussions between the three parties: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and NTT DOCOMO, INC. (DOCOMO), the proposers of this Milestone, and the IEEE Tokyo Section, the sponsor of this Milestone. I apologize for taking so long to reply, but I would be grateful if you could accept our decision.

1) As you have suggested, we would like to spit the original (initial) Milestone into two, with one for “Mobile Radio Propagation Model Okumura-curve in 1968,”and the other for “First Commercialized Full-Scale Cellular Telephone System by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (NTTPC) in 1979,” and to proceed with the Milestone-Proposal procedures for each of the two independent Milestones in parallel. Regarding the milestone plaque sites after the split, our expectation remains unchanged, and we still hope that the plaques will be mounted in the same sites as initially planned.

As for how to reflect updates in each Milestone Proposal on the web (including how to handle Docket No.), I will contact the staff in charge of this Milestone proposal at IEEE History Center once the Milestone split is approved, and ask for instructions and follow procedures step by step as instructed. When everything becomes clear about how to update the web pages, I will update the plaque citation proposal for each Milestone based on the description you suggested last time, as well as the detailed description of each Milestone based on the ideas for improvement you provided last time, and post them on the web.

2) Regarding the sponsoring of the milestone plaques after the split, the IEEE Tokyo Section is still willing to sponsor both the milestone plaques on their own (, and it has been confirmed that the Tokyo Section has no problem sponsoring the both plaques either financially or in any other respect even after the split). In fact, their positive will to provide all-out support seems reasonable also from a historical standpoint, especially regarding the “Milestone on the Okumura-curve.” The IEEE Tokyo Section is a regional OU headquartered in Tokyo, where Tokyo Tower is located. If we look back at the development of the Electric Filed Prediction Curves (Okumura-curves), they resulted from the extensive radio propagation experiments (1962-1965) conducted along the roads spreading over a 100-km radius from Tokyo Tower on which the transmission antennas were installed for the experiments. The Okumura curves later became globally known along with other related papers in a recommendation published by the CCIR (currently ITU-R). For your information, Tokyo Tower is also an iconic radio tower in Japan, and was the world’s tallest building when completed in 1958.

I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful concern of an excessive burden on the IEEE Tokyo as a result of the split and identification of an IEEE OU who is willing to provide support in the sponsorship. Given the background mentioned above, however, I would like to let the IEEE Tokyo Section proceed to sponsor the both milestone plaques on their own. I truly apologize for not taking the choice you have kindly offer this time, and I ask for your generous understanding.

I would like to ask you to confirm our decision mentioned above. I would greatly appreciate your continuous support with us toward the approval of each Milestone hopefully as an advocate of each. I will report to you again when I complete the posting of updates concerning the split of Milestone proposals as described in 1) above.