first text message

Happy birthday, SMS.

It’s been 25 years since the world’s first text message was sent.

Today is the anniversary of the first SMS (short message service) delivered by 22-year-old engineer Neil Papworth in 1992.

The text, which simply said “Merry Christmas”, was sent to Papworth’s colleague Richard Jarvis at Vodafone as a way of celebrating the milestone.

And no, we aren’t feeling old at all.

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However, little did Papworth and Jarivs know the SMS was going to be the future of instant communication.

Elizabeth Bruton, curator of technology and engineering at the Science Museum, told Sky News: “For the very first time we have mobile telephones that were more than just literal mobile telephones, moving beyond voice communications to a new application of the mobile spectrum – to sending, literally, text messages.

“And we can see that continuation through to today when we have hundreds of thousands of applications on our smartphone.

Mobile phone texting.
SMS went on to become a popular form of instant communication (Steve Parsons/PA)

“So SMS can be considered the first step towards the modern smartphone.”

According to Ofcom statistics, mobile users sent 96 billion text messages in 2016, down from 150 billion exchanged in 2011.

Experts attribute this to the rise of WhatsApp and social media.

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