Insight

Happy birthday, dear SMS!

The first ever SMS message was sent on 3 December 1992, and it simply read, Merry Christmas.

December 03 2012

The first ever SMS message was sent on 3 December 1992, and it simply read, Merry Christmas. Twenty years later, SMS is still here and bringing smiles to faces wherever there is a mobile phone. 

The 20th anniversary of SMS is the perfect opportunity for many critics to, again, point out its shortcomings, declare its downfall and bash it as a relic, a legacy system that is overpriced and overhyped. We won’t be going into the same discussion again because everyone knows that we love SMS and that we think it’s the perfect communication tool with a glorious past and a bright future.

What we think is absolutely brilliant and important in the story of SMS is the fact that the first SMS ever sent was an A2P message. Yes, when Neil Papworth sent the “Merry Christmas” text to Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis, the handsets themselves were not capable of sending SMS. In effect, A2P messaging predates P2P and the entire cult and the pop culture phenomenon that accompanies it. 

Of course, today’s A2P SMS is a whole different thing, a business, but above all, it’s something that helps people in their everyday lives, keeps them informed and connected to the brands, people and social networks they care about. Add to that the ubiquity of SMS and SMS-capable networks and phones, and you’ve got an unbeatable proposition.

Today’s the day for a little celebration so we will gladly raise a toast to SMS. May its long and successful career continue for many more years – and it will, if we have anything to do with it. Cheers!