By: Tim Bortoli
Text messages are short written messages that can be sent between electronic equipment such as cell phones and web sites. Also known as SMS (short message service), text messages are a common and quick form of communication and is the most widely used data application in the world. 74% of cell phone owners engage in text messaging. Whilst originally, an SMS referred to only text, they can now include video, photo and audio files. The keys on a cell phone are used to type messages using the letters of the alphabet.
The Invention of Text Messaging
The concept of being able to send and receive text messages via a cell phone was first thought of in the 1980’s. Various companies played around with the idea, but the SMS concept was developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. They came up with a way to transmit short (128 byte) text messages using the existing cell phone signalling format. New programming was included into cell towers to allow for this new service when it began to be used. The main GSM group approved the use of SMS in 1985 and began to work towards this service being available to all cell phone users. Different sections of the GSM group worked on different aspects of SMS such as the specifications, implementations and integration protocols.
Who sent the first SMS?
The first SMS to be sent was on the 3rd of December 1992, in the United Kingdom. It was sent from a personal computer to an Orbitel 901 handset using the Vodafone network. Neil Papworth of Sema Group (now Airwide Solutions) sent the text message “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis. SMS was first used commercially by Aldiscon, part of Logica (now part of Acision), with Telia (now TeliaSonera) in Sweden in 1993. It was first sold to consumers as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in Finland in 1993. Most handsets did not support text messaging to start with. However, by the year 2000 text messaging became a viable way to connect with other people.