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Text Messaging Celebrates its 20th Birthday

December 5th, 2012 by Simon

This week has seen the 20th anniversary of the text message. Text messages have become so ubiquitous that it is now hard to imagine that there was once a point in time when all a phone was capable of doing was making and receiving calls. Text messages have contributed to a decrease in the popularity of phone calls, particularly as younger phone users much prefer to use SMS than voice calls, and are also largely to blame for the rise in txt spk + wdesprd illitrcy LOLz.

Text messages have become a standard feature of mobile phones across the globe and are one of the most frequently used phone features, but the very first text message was sent in 1992 by Neil Papworth of Sema to Vodafone UK’s Richard Jarvis. The message simply said “Merry Christmas”.

Although SMS has become a standard feature on virtually every mobile phone sold, in the past ten years at least, it is quickly being overshadowed by more modern, and cheaper, messaging features used online such as instant messaging (like BBM), and social networks like Facebook. Text Messages will probably be around on phones for many years to come, although the amount of text messages available on phone contracts may become less important in the foreseeable future as cheaper alternatives become available to consumers.


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