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OMG! Text messaging turns 20 on Monday

Posted: , by Alan F.

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OMG! Text messaging turns 20 on Monday
One of the most used features on the modern smartphone, text messaging, turns 20 years old on Monday. It was an auspicious beginning for the service on December 3rd 1992 when a 22-year old engineer in the U.K. named Neil Papworth tapped out "Merry Christmas" on his home computer to Vodafone's Richard Jarvis. Jarvis received the message on his Orbitel 901 mobile phone, but could not respond since the technology did not exist at the time. Two years later, Nokia debuted the feature on its first mobile handset.

Ah, the joys of texting

Ah, the joys of texting

At the beginning, texts could only be sent to those using the same network and the launch in 1995 of the T9 predictive typing system quickened the acceptance of SMS messaging. While free at first, carriers soon realized that there was the potential to make some big money on SMS (which stands for Short Message Service) and in the U.K., for example, operators started charging 10 pence (16 cents US) a text. With 1 billion texts per month being transmitted in the U.K. alone by February 2001, texts were bringing in £100m ($160 million USD) monthly. By 2008, Nielsen said that the average mobile phone user in the U.S, was receiving more texts (357) than phone calls (204) each month.

Soon, a whole new shortcut language developed, and widely used shortcuts like LOL and OMG made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. This sign of widespread acceptance is usually seen near a peak and text messaging appears to be on the decline in some areas. According to Finnish based operator Sonera, the number of texts sent through its network on Christmas Eve declined from 10.9 million in 2010 to 8.5 million in 2011. Messages on Christmas Day in Hong Kong dropped 14%. In other countries like Spain, the Netherlands, and Australia, usage has been declining. Some have turned to alternatives that send messages over data networks like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and WhatsApp. Benedict Evans, telecoms analyst at Enders Analysis has counted 25 such free messaging services with a combined total of 2.5 billion users. He says ten of them have over 100 million users and that doesn't include the 60 million signed up for BBM. Even when your cellular service is out, these services still can get your message to the recipient.

Texting has increased carrier's coffers by $500 billion and is estimated to bring in another $1 trillion through 2019. Eventually, the carriers will adjust pricing, according to Evans who says that it is more expensive for mobile operators to send data than voice. Whatever system is used to transmit short messages, be it texts over data pipelines or texts over voice networks, short messaging has come a long way and still has a long future ahead.

source: Guardian

20 Comments
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posted on 02 Dec 2012, 11:47 7

1. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


s**t now I'm just too young....Why does text messaging has to be older than me? FML!!!

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 11:48 3

2. VJo003 (Posts: 316; Member since: 11 Mar 2012)


Can't live without SMS :))))

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 12:55 1

5. Brewski (Posts: 109; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)


That's just sad. I didn't get my first cell phone until I was 23. I paid for it and the services all by myself. Unlike kids now who take cells for granted. Mommy and daddy will get me a phone!

I remember when texts were ten cents each and you only sent one or two a day to get the point across. Now people send 20-30 per hour and can sent unlimited without thinking of cost.

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 13:06 1

7. JohnnyBravo (Posts: 105; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)


i have a buddy who averages 5K texts per month. That is nuts!

I text but average 500-1000 per month. When I see that Im exchanging a lot of text with a person I will simply suggest calling.

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 11:52 3

3. JohnnyBravo (Posts: 105; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)


Dont worry as Im sure texting is older than over 50% of P.A.'s registered users. On a side note, I cant stand people that rather text instead of talking on the phone. Im talking when both parties are not at work and just chilling. B%^&^! just call me and dont text me a dissertation!!!!

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 13:06

6. whysoserious (Posts: 313; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


It depends on the country and the network provider they have. Like for prepaid subscribers, there are cheap unlimited text service for 24 hours, as cheap as you can go for a full 3-minute regular call. (Hint: 2nd text messaging capital of the world)

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 13:14

8. JohnnyBravo (Posts: 105; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)


We are becoming a texting society and that is dangerous to our current culture. Generation X, Y, and Text? Kids rather text than carry on a conversation. People are constantly seen driving and walking with their heads down texting. Its only a matter of time, if it hasnt happened already, where carriers just offer data package sans calling mins. When I have kids I will definitely restrict this as I believe it will hampers their social skills.

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 13:56

10. whysoserious (Posts: 313; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


I see your point and I totally agree on that. If I will have kids someday, i'll never even let them go near any Apple or Android devices until they turn 16.

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 17:25

16. Birds (Posts: 927; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


Get your crayon....

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 12:37 4

4. e.wvu (unregistered)


Just one more year till it's legal!

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 14:28 1

12. darkkjedii (Posts: 9326; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Lol 21 huh

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 13:49 6

9. Bernoulli (Posts: 1402; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


Yes! Nokia has always been leading in innovation, first to come with the texting technology, they might as well have patented the texting technology to Sue Apple in their dirty game

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 00:12

20. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


haha!! +1

how dare apple to patent wireless charging!! but their iPhone dont even have NFC or wireless charging!! lol!!

im not sure who introduse wireless charging though! but i have known it because of nokia and now the nexus 4!!!

qualcomm is prepping a wireless tech on their own!

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 14:25

11. darkkjedii (Posts: 9326; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I remember when it first came out, I had no idea what it was or how to use it. Now I can't live with out it, really simplifies mobile communication big time.

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 15:49

13. Jyakotu (Posts: 813; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


Text messaging is about to be as old as me! :D

But any who, I remember when my sister got her first cell phone and she was a heavy texter. At first, I never got text messaging and what was so great about it. Then, when I got my first cell phone, I was hooked. Now, I usually send/recieve text messages everyday. Long live SMS!!!

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 16:05

14. archeryhunter1993 (Posts: 17; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)


I have around a 20,000 text messsage total per billing cycle. Most of it is from facebook and twitter notications i get via text since its a whole lot cheaper than having a smartphone!

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 16:39

15. chaoticrazor (Posts: 2347; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)


yes im a year older then texting

cant believe its been around so long though, how did people live when i was born without texting lol

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 18:18 3

17. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


and the texting capital of the world! PHILIPPINES! :)

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 22:09

18. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 5657; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


damn didn't know it was that old. I remember back then in 99' with my 1st old Nokia candy bar phone used to send text but never got into texting till later one though. man time flies

posted on 03 Dec 2012, 00:08

19. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


lol...agree!!! i was never into textingbut my friends always text me so i text back eventually!

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