Happy Birthday, Text. The first SMS text message was sent on December 3, 1992. Fittingly, given the time of year, it read, ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’.
The first SMS text message was sent on December 3, 1992, by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old engineer who was working for Anglo-French IT services company Sema Group Telecoms. Papworth was part of a team developing a system for sending and receiving short messages at the “Short Message Service Centre” (SMSC) for Vodafone UK.
Using a personal computer, Papworth sent a text message to the phone of a colleague, wishing him a “MERRY CHRISTMAS” via the Vodafone network.
Just one year later, in 1993, SMS was made commercially available by Nokia. They introduced the ‘beep’. A sound to indicate a new message had arrived, and a sound we all became familiar with.
The first mobile phone with an SMS function was released by Nokia the same year, although messages were limited to 160 characters due to bandwidth restrictions, meant they could only be sent within the same mobile network. With the development of the Tegic (T9) predictive texting system and pre-paid phone plans, which initially did not charge for texts and were popular among young people, texting emerged as a form of casual contact. Due to the 160-character limit and the inconvenient nature of using a numeric keypad to type, a complete “language” of acronyms and slang developed through SMS and expanded throughout internet-based communications.
Six years after the ‘beep’, texts could finally be exchanged on multiple networks, propelling them to greater popularity than ever before.
In the United Kingdom (the birthplace of texting), SMS messaging exploded in popularity. By February 2001, about one billion texts were being sent monthly, and users were being charged 10 pence a text, generating about £100 million a month in corporate profits. By 2010, the International Telecommunications Union reported that 200,000 text messages were being sent every minute.
The first SMS was sent thirty years ago. And throughout that time, the texts we send one another have played a significant role in how many people and businesses now communicate. It took time to catch on, but when text messaging finally took off, it had an enormous global influence.
Such was the value of the first-ever text message, it was sold at auction last year by Vodaphone for £90,000. The text was sold as a non-fungible token – a type of digital asset.
The rise and fall of the text
By the middle of the 2000s, SMS was widely used worldwide. By 2010, 6.1 trillion messages had been transmitted. There were many more accessible mobiles, and touchscreen smartphones made sending and receiving text messages simpler than ever.
But the internet and personal computers were also experiencing a surge at the same time as the mobile world, with multiple social channels allowing unlimited character messaging.
The first year that SMS usage fell was in 2012, but did this signal a long-term fall in SMS?
Business is business – SMS on the rise.
When Twitter launched in 2006, the tweet quickly spread to all corners of the world. Everyone saw the power and outreach of the 140-character message, including heads of state, world leaders, politicians and anyone with a message to tell, but along with Facebook Messenger and Instagram, they were developed and seen as social messaging platforms.
The use of SMS for social messaging may have fallen a little, but the use of SMS for business communication and interactions has increased during the past ten years.
SMS is now the adopted method of communication across all business sectors and is utilised in all business verticals.
SMS is now used for a number of different purposes:
- Customer service communications. If you have two-way SMS set up, you can use it to open a dialogue with customers.
- Order and delivery confirmations.
- Appointment reminders.
- Emergency alerts.
- Internal communications.
- SMS marketing.
Social messaging and text messaging have found their markets, and the business market has naturally found its way through the text. A user is nearly certain to open a corporate text message sent to them because SMS has a 98% open rate. It makes sense that SMS is a well-liked addition to a marketer’s toolbox.
A round peg does not fit in a square hole.
We have an award-winning text messaging platform that was purpose-built to allow you to communicate with your audience, wherever they are and whatever business sector you cover.
At Saascoms, we commit to providing you with a solution tailored to your requirements, taking our existing platform and adding features for your business.
MAKE CONTACT to arrange a demonstration of our technology and to get started on an SMS marketing campaign that will undoubtedly get you the results you want.
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Read our SMS best practice guide HERE
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