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The SMS Celebrates Its 20th Birthday

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The world’s first SMS—which stands for “Short Messaging Service”—was sent out 20 years ago today, on 3 December 1992.

The message that heralded a texting revolution—which changed the way the world communicated—was sent by Neil Papworth, then a 22-year-old engineer to his friend Richard Jarvis, who was an executive at British telecom Vodafone.


Stating simply “Merry Christmas”, this short and sweet greeting was received on a Orbitel 901 (pictured above).

Although the SMS’s popularity is on the wane with a dozen other ways to communicate via text—Facebook, Twitter, etc.—it is still used by about four billion people in the world today.

Can you imagine a world where the SMS has not been invented?

[via Quartz]
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