SMS has become an integral part of our daily communication, but it wasn't always the case. SMS has an exciting history that stretches back to the 1980s. And it came to pass in those days, that the first commercial SMS was sent in 1992. It had a very simple message: "Merry Christmas". Today, SMS has far more use cases in addition to wishing each other a Merry Christmas. It is used for everything from personal communication to marketing and information sharing. Let's take a look at how SMS evolved from a limited technology to one of the most popular forms of communication we have today.
It All Started With ...
The history of SMS started in 1984, when the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) formed a group of engineers to develop GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). This system was to be used to standardize mobile phone technology and make it easier to communicate across borders. Originally, this technology was developed to utilize free space in the system, but eventually it developed into an important communication tool.
One of the first goals of GSM was to develop a simple messaging service that could send short messages to mobile phones. This was a difficult task, as mobile phones at the time were large and expensive, and the idea was difficult to implement in practice. But if there was anyone who could make it happen, it was the engineers at GMS, and they did! They developed the technology and called the service SMS, or "Short Message Service".
New Technology, New Challenges
SMS was introduced in the 1990s, but it was not an immediate success. One of the biggest challenges was that messages were limited to 160 characters. This limited the use of SMS, and it took a few years for the technology to become popular.
Another limitation was that SMS only worked as one-way communication. You could send a message to someone, but you couldn't receive a message back. This limited the use of SMS, and it took a few years before two-way communication was introduced. Despite these limitations, SMS began to take off in the late 1990s. This was, among other things, a result of Nokia launching SMS-supported handsets in 1993. This was also due to several factors, such as the increasing number of mobile phone users, cheaper prices for mobile phones and increased availability of SMS services.
The Popularity of SMS
During the 2000s, the popularity of SMS reached new heights. Mobile operators began offering subscriptions that included unlimited SMS messages, making it cheaper for users to communicate via SMS. At the same time, several mobile phones with keyboards were launched, which made it easier to write SMS messages. This resulted in over 500 billion SMS messages being sent worldwide in 2004.
SMS was also increasingly integrated into other technologies. For example, it became possible to send SMS messages from computers using SMS gateways.
The Role of SMS Today
Today, SMS is still one of the most important communication tools we have. Although other alternative forms of communication have been introduced such as WhatsApp and iMessage, SMS is still the most reliable way to send messages. It requires no internet connection and anyone with a mobile phone can receive SMS messages.
In addition, SMS has gained an increasingly important role for companies. It's easier than ever to send bulk SMS messages to customers, which is why SMS marketing has become increasingly popular over the past few years. SMS has become a central part of the communication strategy of companies, and contributes to more personal communication with customers.
So next time you send og recieve an SMS, think of that faithful Christmas in 92´ that made the history of SMS possible.