SMS, an acronym for Short Message Service that means of sending messages from one mobile phone to another. Messages can also be sent from the web to mobile phones using SMS technology. Used to send text messages and commonly known by that term, SMS is arguably one of the most popular mobile applications today.Indeed, in 2011, over 669 million mobile phone owners used SMS services, with the number projected to balloon to over 2 billion by 2016. SMS technology first became available to commercial users of mobile phones in the early 1990s and has changed a great deal since then in order to accommodate a growing number of users as well as the advent of digital technology.
Indeed, in 2011, over 669 million mobile phone owners used SMS services, with the number projected to balloon to over 2 billion by 2016. SMS technology first became available to commercial users of mobile phones in the early 1990s and has changed a great deal since then in order to accommodate a growing number of users as well as the advent of digital technology.
SMS technology was first developed during the mid-1980s by an international consortium composed of key players in the growing mobile communications industry. In 1984, the Franco-German GSM Corporation began working on the use of existing telephone signal lines to send short messages from one mobile device to another. The innovators of SMS, Bernard Ghillebaert, and Friedhelm Hillebrand realized that the size of the messages would have to be kept short owing to the limited capacity of the signal lines. Interestingly, Hillebrand set the size limit of all SMS communications at 160 characters based on his assessment of postcard and telegram sizes, the vast majority of which fell within that size range.
Although the development of SMS (Short Message Service) technology began in earnest during the mid-1980s, it wasn’t until close to a decade later, in 1992, when the first SMS text was successfully sent between two Vodafone executives. The text, which read “Merry Christmas”, originated from a computer on the GSM network and terminated at a mobile handset. A year later, in 1993, telecommunications companies in Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. were among the first to offer SMS to their customers. It was the first commercial application of the technology and initially, there were few takers, primarily because most handsets available at the time did not support SMS technology. However, 1993 also saw the release of Nokia’s new line of mobile phones, all of which were designed to support SMS technology and within a few years, SMS had taken off.
Part of the problem lay in the fact that until the late 1990s, many companies only allowed text messages to be sent between customers on the same network. Given the fact that many users wanted to communicate with people outside their network, this restriction significantly impeded the growth of SMS usage during these years. However, by the turn of the century, most companies eradicated this limitation and thanks to the greater freedom of usage which resulted from this move, the number of SMS users worldwide has grown exponentially over the last decade. As usage grew, charges for the service invariably fell, and SMS soon became one of the most widely used forms of mobile communication.
Today, SMS technology has expanded to include MMS, (Multi-media Messaging Service), which allows for larger messages to be sent. Short Message Service technology is also available to users of Smartphones on 3G and 4G networks. Currently constituting a multi-billion dollar global industry, SMS is undoubtedly one of the most important technological innovations of the last quarter century.