25 years since first text message received on mobile phone

Text messaging wasn't expected to be such a major source of communication

Text messaging wasn't expected to be such a major source of communication

On 3rd Dec 1992, British software engineer Neil Papworth, who was then just 22 years old, had sent the first text message from a computer to his colleague Richard Jarvis in the UK. "Looking back with hindsight, it's clear to see that the Christmas message I sent was a pivotal moment in mobile history".

"Text messaging was not my idea or invention, I just happen to be lucky to have sent that first one", he told Sky News.

A year later, the first commercial SMS service was available in Finland, and Nokia became the first company to release a handset capable of sending text messages.

It took a while for texting to catch on.

Today is the anniversary of the first SMS (short message service), which simply said "Merry Christmas". Ofcom statistics state that mobile phone users sent 102 billion texts in 2015, compared with 150 billion in 2011.

The US was slower to catch on, mainly because mobile operators there charged more for texts and less for voice calls, and because of the popularity and availability of PC-to-PC instant messaging or IM.

He could not have been more wrong though, with Elizabeth Bruton, who works for the Science Museum, letting everyone know how important the SMS was. But Jarvis didn't send a reply because there was no way to send a text from a phone in those days. A lot of them also use a new set of sub-languages based on abbreviations and keyboard-based icons have evolved.

But 2012 proved the peak for text messages, in terms of volume; they've been superseded by internet-based apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage. Using the old keyboards to send a hurried text under the desk at school on the brick phones which wouldn't lose battery for like a week?

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