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.
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!