SMS text message turns 20 years old in Dec. 3

In the fast moving world of technology, there are perhaps few things that have proved as resistant to change as the simple SMS text message. Happy (Early) Bday! :) SMS Txt Msgs Turn 20 article tells that on Dec. 3 is the 20th anniversary of the sending of the first SMS text message. The first text message was sent on 3 December 1992, when the 22-year-old British engineer Neil Papworth used his computer to wish a “Merry Christmas” to Richard Jarvis, of Vodafone, on his Orbitel 901 mobile phone. I have heard (from some people who have been involved in development of SMS) that developers first thought that sending SMS from mobile phone would not be even something that users would like to have (it would be too hard for an average user to get used to write the message with numeric keyboard).

Next year (1993) Nokia’s mobile phone also allowed sending SMS messages. Several news have told that the phone used to send first SMS was Nokia’s first mobile phone made in 1993, but that’s not true because Nokia had made many mobile phone models years before that time, even several GSM mobile phones.

Commercial services soon followed, and though they started life as a free service – because operators hadn’t figured out how to charge for them. When they figured out the pricing text messaging has been very profitable business for mobile phone operators and making them lots of money. And this very profitable business that has been growing and growing for long time, but now the growth seems to be stopping.

Text messaging turns 20 – but is it past its peak? Change is in the air: text messaging is being replaced by applications across the world (like Skype, WatsApp, BlackBerry Messenger and Facebook-like smartphone applications). The telecom operator net SMS sales declined for the first time in USA. There are signs that SMS use is declining in a number of countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, Finland, Hong Kong and Australia.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Texting SMS pioneer Matti Makkonen 20 years on

    But the origins of the idea date back further to Matti Makkonen. Over a pizza at a telecoms conference in 1984, the former Finnish civil servant put forward the idea of a mobile phone messaging service. This was to become the SMS (short message service) standard.

    Dubbed the “father of SMS”- a title he dislikes because of the work others did to develop the technology

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages

    State and local law enforcement groups want wireless providers to store detailed information about your SMS messages for at least two years — in case they’re needed for future criminal investigations.

    AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans’ private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress.

    As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery, cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions.

    Along with the police association, other law enforcement groups making the request to the Senate include the National District Attorneys’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, DeWitt said.

    “This issue is not addressed in the current proposal before the committee and yet it will become even more important in the future,” the groups warn.

    It wasn’t immediately clear whether the law enforcement proposal is to store the contents of SMS messages, or only the metadata such as the sender and receiver phone numbers associated with the messages. Either way, it’s a heap of data: Forrester Research reports that more than 2 trillion SMS messages were sent in the U.S. last year, over 6 billion SMS messages a day.

    “We would oppose any mandatory data retention mandate as part of ECPA reform,” says Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Do you belong to the group of persons who send text message after taking some wine?

    Drunk Text Savior App can be downloaded to your phone and can be installed also on Facebook.

    The application concludes typed in message length and the number of typing errors, is really appropriate to send a message. If the application finds intention dangerous, report it to the intermediate position by flashing on the screen, do not send a text.


  4. Banking security and SMS authentication « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] SMS message is typically sent to the user providing the required second factor for authentication. SMS text message turns 20 years and world around it has changed. Earlier SMS was received with mobile phones where the software [...]

  5. Larae Aispuro says:

    Ridiculous quest there. What occurred after? Take care!|

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chat apps have overtaken SMS by message volume, but how big a disaster is that for carriers?

    According to analysts at Informa, IP-based platforms such as WhatsApp now carry more messages than SMS infrastructure does. However, we should be cautious about how we interpret the figures.

    There’s a reason why mobile carriers are scared of third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp, and here it is: people are now sending more messages over these services than they are text messages.

    Informa says 2012 saw nearly 19 billion messages sent over these apps each day around the world, versus 17.6 billion SMS messages.

    As you will note, this suggests that SMS volumes will continue to increase, at least in the short term.

    First off, while the volumes of non-SMS messages has overtaken that of traditional texts, the user numbers remain significantly lower – although how much lower is a bit unclear.

    “Mobile operators do have the opportunity to provide their own IP-based messaging applications,” Clark-Dickson noted.

    Either way, though, what’s clear is the speed at which all this is happening. The SMS is 20 years old and chat apps have only been around for around 5 years. Although we should take care when predicting the results, the trend of IP-based messaging replacing SMS certainly appears unstoppable.

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