Text Messaging Is Now 25 Years Old

From ExtremeTech: Virtually every person with a cell phone has sent a text message by now, but 25 years ago just one person had done so. That’s when engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS, on December 3rd, 1992. What started as a curious implementation of existing cellular standards eventually grew into a huge part of our daily communication. Now, what comes next as the influence of SMS wanes?

On that fateful day just over 25 years ago, Papworth composed a message on a computer that read “Merry Christmas” and sent it over the Vodafone UK cellular network to Vodafone director Richard Jarvis. According to Papworth, he had to use a computer to compose the message because no phones at the time had the necessary keypad elements to input that much text.

Of course, SMS (Short Message Service) doesn’t support very many characters in the grand scheme of things. The roots of SMS go back to the earliest stages of mobile technology in the mid-1980s. The GSM standards supported the transmission of up to 160 alphanumeric characters. SMS was later ported to other network technologies like CDMA and AMPS.

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