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SMS text messages 20 years old today

The first SMS message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone 20 years ago today.

The first SMS message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone 20 years ago today.

On 3 December 1992 Neil Papworth, a test engineer for Sema Group, sent the first text message, with the words “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone employee Richard Jarvis, but since mobile phones did not have the capability enabled yet, Jarvis was unable to respond.
Since then texting has boomed, with the first commercial service launched by Telia in Sweden in 1993, followed by several other companies in 1994, including Vodafone itself in the UK.
SMS messages were also a bit more like Twitter in that they were strictly limited to 160 characters, with no way to combine multiple texts for a longer message. This led to the infamous “txt speak,” where words were replaced with numbers or otherwise shortened, like “c u” for “see you” and “b4” for “before.”
Predictive text systems like T9 were not invented until 1995, making those initial years more cumbersome for many texters. It was not until 1999 that full cross-network compatibility, between Vodafone, Cellnet, One-2-One and Orange, became a reality. 
Text messages have since become the norm for communication for many people and companies, with parents texting their children to ask how they are and companies texting customers to tell them about offers, their latest bill, or confirm a delivery date.
“When texting was first conceived many saw it as nothing more than a niche service,” said James Thickett, Director of Research at UK regulator Ofcom. “But texts have now surpassed traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch for UK adults, revolutionising the way we socialise, work and network.”
He also said that text volumes have, for the first time in history, shown “signs of decline.” This is largely due to the availability of other forms of text communication, such as instant messaging services and social media, which are widely used on internet-enabled smartphones.
Source: The Telegraph

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