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SMS TXT msgs turn 20 2day! :-) SMS TXT msgs turn 20 2day! :-) Featured

Texting times for SMS as it turns 20 today, and while challenged it is by iMessage, Twitter and Skype chat, it’s still king of the globally universal text message chat that anyone with at least a GSM phone or better can take part in and use.

Although we all take SMS text messaging today for granted, with some even having grown past it through the use of instant messaging chat apps and Twitter which send messages as cheap data rather than potentially much more expensive individual texts (with Tweets able to be texted, too) there once was a time when SMS didn’t exist at all.

Of course, since the modern-day introduction of SMS text messaging on December 3, 1993, with Australia’s first text message on the Telstra network not sent until the 25th of July, 1994, with Telstra customer-to-customer SMS messaging not offered until an incredible 3 years later.

In Australia, SMS text messaging started life as something that worked on the same carrier only – you couldn’t text message between networks, as you can today, with that first carrier being the aforementioned Telstra, followed up by Vodafone.

It wasn’t until April 2000, just over 12 years ago, that inter-carrier text messaging came to life, and along with anywhere voice chat, anywhere voice texting remains an incredibly useful and affordable way to communicate with someone, especially when it’s simply not convenient to talk, or to Facetime, or whatever.

Now, if you want to know some more good stats about Australian text messaging history, we need look no further than iTWire’s own telecommunications expert, Stuart Corner.

In his article entitled  “Once upon a time, mobile phones could not send SMS”, from where I sourced these stats, Stuart explains that: “The standardisation of SMS was developed in 1985 by a collaborated effort between Germany and France. SMS was created by Friedhelm Hillebrand, Bernard Ghillebaert, and Oculy Silaban," [SMS Expert Sheri] Wells writes.

That event however went largely un-noticed outside the inner circles of the world's cellular industry. Seven more years were to pass before the first SMS message, in the real world, was sent.

According to Wells, "The first text message (Happy Christmas) was sent in on December 3, 1992 over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom from Neil Papworth of Sema Group from an R&D lab using a personal computer to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone."

Plenty more information on that aspect of the history of SMS is available at this article from The Guardian in the UK, entitled “Text messaging turns 20”, including some dangerous and silly texts through recent history, followed up by some TXT speak full of LOLs and LMAOs!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.






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