7 Things You Need To Know About SMS Messaging

Maïwenn Marchand
28 Jul, 2022

Everyone has heard about SMS messaging. But let’s get to basics. Where does it come from? Since when do we use SMS messaging. Why is it so famous and used all around the world? Let’s get deeper into the history of SMS!

What does SMS messaging mean?

First of all, let’s describe what SMS is. SMS literally means Short Message Service. SMS messaging was invented in the 1980s. It is one of the oldest technologies for sending SMS. Above all, it is the most widespread and most widely used. MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. SMS is an everyday tool for many people. That’s why, as SMS professionals, we have recaptured 7 things you need to know about SMS!

what does sms messaging mean?

1. In 1984, a Finn invents SMS

In 1984, Matti Makkonen invents SMS. He wanted to create a system to help hearing-impaired people to communicate. It took 8 years for the system to become operational. This is due to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. The institute had to develop a mobile phone network capable of handling both phone calls and text messages.

2. The first SMS sent was for Christmas.

Several companies boast that they sent the first SMS. However, engineer Neil Papworth sent the first commercial SMS on 13th December 1992. As telephones did not yet have a keyboard, he sent this message from a computer to a telephone. Neil Papworth sent Richard Jarvis (Vodafone manager), Merry Christmas!

3. Why is SMS messaging limited to 160 characters?

This limit was thought up by the German engineer Friedhelm Hillebrand in 1985. In a small experiment, Friedhelm sat down in front of his typewriter and wrote down random sentences and questions. He noticed that the majority of the sentences were almost systematically composed of 160 characters.

The engineer also wanted to transmit the messages through the radio channels already used by telephones. These channels only allowed 128 characters, which he managed to push back. This is where the SMS language comes from. We got used to shortening the words in order to reach the famous 160 characters.

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4. The Nokia 2010: first-ever consumer phone

The NOKIA 2010, launched in 1994, is the very first consumer phone supporting SMS messaging. It was equipped with keys to writing text directly on the phone. Prior to 1999, SMS messages could only be exchanged on the same network. After the introduction of SMS, telephone operators did not address the problem of network issues. Indeed, they were convinced that this system would not be popular and that mobile phones would be used mainly for oral communication. If only they knew!

5. Operators launched SMS messaging offers in 1997

It was not until 1997 that operators launched SMS offers. On the other hand, there is a constraint for users: messages can only be exchanged between 2 interlocutors on the same network. Finally, in 1999, interoperability ensured the success of SMS! All users can exchange SMS without exception. The concept of unlimited SMS, which was to come a few years later, was what would definitely make SMS take off.

6. The arrival of new communication channels

SMS is billions of messages sent per year. Certainly, with the advent of mobile instant messaging applications such as messenger (Facebook) and WhatsApp, the number of SMSes sent has decreased. But SMS still has a bright future ahead of it. Companies will just have to expand their communication channels. Hence the interest in offering complete communication platforms. For a company that wants to reach its end users in an optimal way, a platform like a CpaaS can be very interesting.

7. SMS messaging : a powerful tool

Despite this, SMS remains an important means of communication: several million SMS messages are sent every minute. More than 4 billion people use this tool worldwide. In addition, the SMS system makes it easier to reach people. 97% of messages are read and 45% receive replies. These figures are much higher than those of emails for example (20% read and 6% replied).

In conclusion, SMS has a nice story behind it. Above all, it still has a bright future ahead of it. It is important to use it properly and on an adequate target. RingRing has years of experience in SMS. If you would like more information about our products and take advantage of the power of SMS, contact our experts.

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