About 20 years ago, people still sometimes had to use dialing codes to make a phone call to a cellphone. We had a list in the kitchen next to the telephone of some common ones. "I think Mom said she'd be in Cleveland today...let's try that one first."
This was AMPS, of course. Things have improved a bit since then.
Oh, and then D-AMPS happened. And CDMA2000 1xRTT. And EVDO. And 3G. And LTE. Coverage has gone from "it usually works if you're near a highway" to pretty much just being expected to work just about everywhere.
Overall, it has been a steady stream of improvements. This year really is no different. So LTE's being rolled out. Cool! But that's not so different than a few years ago, when 3G was being rolled out.