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“Father” of SMS speaks on 20th anniversary of technology

20 years after the first SMS, the "reluctant father" of the technology sat down with the BBC to reflect upon it's development.

20 Years ago, on 3 December 1992, the first text message was sent from a PC to a mobile phone on Vodafone's UK network, stating simply "Merry Christmas". Matti Makkonen, the Finnish engineer who conceived of the technology, first came up with the idea for the SMS, or Short Message Service, in 1984 during a telecommunications conference, but it took eight years before his vision became a reality.

Matti Makkonen


The technology didn't truly find a foothold though, until it was incorporated into the GSM standard. Makkonen considers the "true" birthday of the SMS to be 1994, when Nokia released the 2010, the first mobile phone which easily facilitated texting.


Makkonen calls himself the reluctant father of the technology. Though he may have come up with the idea, he pointed out to the BBC that the SMS technology was developed through a team effort, and that he does not hold any claim to creating it himself. He also never made any money on the technology, as he felt it couldn't be patented.


Makkonen stated that he loves texting, but  he never uses shorthand when he texts. He is currently the CEO of Anvia Oy, a Finnish telecommunications service provider.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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