30 years of the text message

‘Merry Christmas’: 30 years of the text message

The text message is celebrating its 30th birthday – the first “Merry Christmas” SMS was sent to a mobile phone by a Vodafone engineer in Berkshire in the UK on 3 December 1992.

Originally, an SMS could only be text, up to 160 characters long. The concept was born in the early 1980s but it was almost 10 years before one would be sent to a mobile device.

The SMS is still used, although internet-based, encrypted messaging platforms like WhatsApp and iMessage are far more popular.

According to Statista, there were 40 billion SMS messages sent in 2021 in the UK, down from 150bn in 2012.


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