Unbelievable SMS History

Everyone likes messaging. Everybody’s familiar with SMS. Every day numerous people from all over the world spend hours at receiving and sending their messages. Nevertheless, not every SMS user knows its history, which’s, in fact, unbelievable. Wanna know? Let’s go, then.


The idea of SMS first appeared in Denmark, where during a meeting with the friends in the pizzeria, Matti McConen, an engineer, came up with a concept that would allow GSM-phone users to exchange short text messages among themselves in 1984.

Of course, the technology did not immediately win the users’ appreciation, and you can make sure how communication has evolved with the new technologies.

The reason for the weak popularity of SMS-communication before 1995 was rather not in a concept, but in the fact that any innovation is always ahead of time and is always underestimated by the contemporaries. Who knows, maybe the world was not ready for SMS at that time and waited for the better times.

Dawn of SMS Technology

In reality, introducing a T9 technology accelerated the processing of typing on devices. In addition, the operators began to use prepaid SMS in their packages, which further stimulated the development of this technology. According to Ericsson, the number of text messages sent every day only from 2000 to 2002, increased in 20 times.

At dawn of SMS technology an average of 0.4 messages per month were sent via SMS, whereas today, 25 years later after its first launch, about 200 000 text messages are sent to the world every second, according to official data from the GSM Association.

So, it may turn out that the subscribers of the planet send about 7 trillion SMS annually. However, that would not happen but for one person: Neil Papworth.

Nowadays Neil Papworth is a well-known software architect, designer and developer, who actually started his career as a developer of aeronautical and military applications at Ferranti International in Bracknell and worked there from 1988 to 1991, is considered to be a father of SMS messaging.

A day he first sent an SMS message, which contained a short greeting: Merry Christmas! to his colleague on December 3, 1992, the day was officially accepted as the birthday of SMS. Neil was only 22.

The message sent was addressed to Richard Jarvis, a director at Vodafone. The most interesting is the fact that the message was sent from a personal computer, as mobile phones had no keyword yet.

Actually, the first SMS came into the mobile phone in the GSM network of Vodafone UK operator — the major customer of Sema Group Telecoms in Newbury, Berkshire, where Papworth’s team was developing an SMSC (Short Message Service Centre). Thus, SMS is already a 25-year old telecommunications feature, if you don’t know yet.

SMS Nowadays and in Future

SMS has been long recognizable as a safety standard. In Germany, for example, SMS is equated to official acts and protocols of senior government officials, since Angela Merkel’s being a president.

Even SMS service from NASA is available. With its help, you can receive a notification on your mobile phone every time the International Space Station flies over your house, for example. That’s much fun!

Today, SMS opens up new horizons for applications. SMS-communication is well organized and conducted not only between real people, but also between different kinds of devices (computers). So, SMS nowadays is one of those technologies, possible to operate in various systems of the so-called network communication. Machine to machine communication or (M2M) becomes possible too.

Such M2M solutions optimize business processes and reduce costs solely through innovative tools. At the same time, the scope of application of M2M is practically unlimited: transport, finances, agricultural and industrial complex, pharmacology, security systems, and much more.

Bulk SMS messaging has become a kind of sport among the majority of popular large and small companies, because the price is worth it. SMS has long been on the worldwide mobile communications’ market and managed to gain the firm popularity, indeed. Due to the fact the newer and newer competitors appear on the market annually, today SMS as a separate industry demonstrates stunning results.

Moreover, there are numerous world contests, connected to SMS, which is much of fun for adventurous and skillful people. In the world championship in 2012, a 17-year-old American Austin Virschke won the prize because he managed to type 149 symbols in 39 seconds.

Even Guinness World Records already has a couple of SMS records included. Another ultimate world record, registered in the Book today belongs to American — Franklin Page, which is 160 characters in 35.54 seconds. But in this case SMS was typed, using a virtual keyboard on the touch screen of the phone, in contrast to the button method of Virschke.

However, the fastest time to type a text message (SMS) on a touch-screen mobile phone, ever recorded was 17.00 seconds and was successfully achieved by Marcel Fernandes Filho (Brazil) who used Fleksy keyboard technology in Brooklyn, New York, USA, on 7 November 2014.

Another interesting fact: in May 2011 pupils of one of the US schools of Utah simultaneously sent 667 identical SMS, which also was recorded in the Book.

Text messages have also become an art tool. A Chinese writer Kan Fu Сhang who’s a pioneer in writing his own literary works in SMS language is a real proof. Back in 2004, he spoke about “a passion-filled story of forbidden love between a married man and a married woman.” Each of the sixty chapters of the novel consisted of seventy hieroglyphs — this was the maximum size of SMS in Chinese. In addition to an unusual format, the novel had undeniable artistic value.

By the way, the literary award was distributed in gold, silver and bronze figurines to the authors of the best SMS-products.

What’s even more incredible is the fact that prior to the Chinese experience, Microsoft had managed to reduce the Iliad by Homer to an SMS size, which was amazing. While the original text contained 37 000 words, Microsoft specialists developed 32 SMS messages (first 5 of 24 books).The text of the ancient “Iliad”, written in English, which depicted hearts and other emoticons.

The truth is that various classical texts are actively translated into the language of SMS in English. For example, Hamlet’s famous monologue: “To be, or not to be: that is the question” now looks like this: 2b? Ntb? =?. Fashion for mobile books has led to the creation of entire libraries of similar texts.

Thus, the representatives of the Bible Society of Australia have translated all 31,173 biblical verses into SMS language and argue that the text of the Bible remained unchanged.

In Ukraine, the official SMS launch date is known to be April 12, 1999. Starting from this day, text messages of “MTS Ukraine” (then UMC) have become an integral part of mobile communications. As in the whole world, the Service was initially not very popular, as it was not supported by all mobile phones, and the cost was relatively high, etc. Well, it took some time before SMS gained recognition for good and all.

Today, SMS service is the second most popular after voice communication. Thus, only on New Year’s Eve from December 31, 2012, to January 1, 2013, a record of SMS-communication was established in the network of MTS: on average, each subscriber of MTS sent at least 5 SMS. In total, in New Year, MTS subscribers managed to send more than 100 million messages, which today is known to be the best indicator the service use on the market. Annually, MTS subscribers send several billion SMS, which once again proves SMS to be the leading communication channel in local telecommunications.

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