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Happy Birthday “SMS”.

HBD, text messaging!!

Today is SMS Birthday. The first SMS text was sent 25 years ago today by Neil Papworth, then a 22-year-old communications engineer working in the United Kingdom. Papworth’s SMS — Short Messaging Service — text was sent from a PC (phones didn’t yet have keyboards) to a friend at a holiday party across town and read simply, “Merry Christmas.”

What is SMS?

SMS stands for Short Messaging Service, a protocol used for sending short messages over wireless networks. Unlike many services in use today, such as MMS and other data driven services, SMS still works on the fundamental voice network, and is based on the big three GSM, CDMA and TDMA network technologies, making it a universal service.

History of *SMS”…

The SMS concept was developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. The GSM is optimized for telephony, since this was identified as its main application. The key idea for SMS was to use this telephone-optimized system, and to transport messages on the signalling paths needed to control the telephone traffic during periods when no signalling traffic existed. In this way, unused resources in the system could be used to transport messages at minimal cost. However, it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved to 160 seven-bit characters) so that the messages could fit into the existing signalling formats. Based on his personal observations and on analysis of the typical lengths of postcard and Telex messages, Hillebrand argued that 160 characters was sufficient to express most messages succinctly.

The first text message was sent in 3 Dec, 1992 from Neil Papworth, a former developer at Sema Group Telecoms. Mobile phones didn’t have keyboards at the time, so Papworth had to type the message on a PC. Papworth’s text — “Merry Christmas” — was successfully sent to Richard Jarvis at Vodafone.

In 1993, Nokia was the first handset manufacturer whose total GSM phone line in 1993 supported user-sending of SMS text messages. In 1997, it became the first manufacturer to produce a mobile phone with a full keyboard: The Nokia 9000i Communicator. Text messaging really took off at the start of the millennium once people were able to text friends on different networks.

How SMS Works?

The control channel (SMSC) provides the pathway for SMS messages. When a friend sends you an SMS message, the message flows through the SMSC, then to the tower, and the tower sends the message to your phone as a little packet of data on the control channel. In the same way, when we send a message, our phone sends it to the tower on the control channel and it goes from the tower to the SMSC and from there to its destination.

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