History of Short Message Service (SMS)

Short Message Service (SMS) is a communication service component of the GSM mobile communication system, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between mobile phone devices. SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world, with 2.4 billion active users, or 74% of all mobile phone subscribers. The term SMS is used as a synonym for all types of short text messaging, as well as the user activity itself, in many parts of the world.
SMS as used on modern handsets was originally defined as part of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) series of standards in 1985  as a means of sending messages of up to 160 characters, to and from GSM mobile handsets.
The idea of adding text messaging to the services of mobile users was latent in many communities of mobile communication services at the beginning of the 1980s. The first action plan of the CEPT Group GSM, approved in December 1982, requested “The services and facilities offered in the public switched telephone networks and public data networks… should be available in the mobile system”.This target includes the exchange of text messages either directly between mobile stations, or transmitted via Message Handling Systems widely in use since the beginning of the 1980s.
The SMS concept was developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. The innovation in SMS is Short. The GSM is optimized for telephony, since this was identified as its main application. The key idea for SMS was to use this telephony-optimized system, and to transport messages on the signaling paths needed to control the telephony traffic during time periods when no signaling 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 140 bytes, or 160 7-bit characters), so that the messages could fit into the existing signaling formats.
This concept allowed SMS to be implemented in every mobile station, by updating itssoftware. This concept was instrumental for the implementation of SMS in every mobile station ever produced and in every network from early days. Hence, a large base of SMS capable terminals and networks existed when the users began to utilize the SMS. A new network element required was a specialized Short Message Service Center, and enhancements were required to the radio capacity and network transport infrastructure to accommodate growing SMS traffic.
The first SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1992, from Neil Papworth of Sema Group (now Airwide Solutions) using a personal computer to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone using an Orbitel 901 handset. The text of the message was “Merry Christmas”. The first SMS typed on a GSM phone was sent by Riku Pihkonen, an engineering student at Nokia, in 1993.
The first commercial deployment of a Short Message Service Center (SMSC) was by Aldiscon (now Acision) with TeliaSonera in Sweden in 1993, followed by Fleet Call (now Nextel)[citation needed] in the US, Telenor in Norway and BT Cellnet (now O2 UK) later in 1993. All first installations of SMS gateways were for network notifications sent to mobile phones, usually to inform of voice mail messages. The first commercially sold SMS service was offered to consumers, as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in 1993. It should be noted that most early GSM mobile phone handsets did not support the ability to send SMS text messages, and Nokia was the only handset manufacturer whose total GSM phone line in 1993 supported user-sending of SMS text messages.
Initial growth was slow, with customers in 1995 sending on average only 0.4 messages per GSM customer per month.One factor in the slow takeup of SMS was that operators were slow to set up charging systems, especially for prepaid subscribers, and eliminate billing fraud which was possible by changing SMSC settings on individual handsets to use the SMSCs of other operators.
In 2008, 4.1 trillion SMS text messages were sent. SMS has become a massive commercial industry, worth over 81 billion dollars globally as of 2006. The global average price for an SMS message is 0.11 USD, while the cost to providers approaches zero. Mobile networks charge each other so-called interconnect fees of at least £0.03 when connecting between different phone networks

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