When did Texting Start?

Today, it’s hard to think of a time before texting. When did texting start? Let’s begin by looking into the definition of texting or text messaging which is also known as SMS (short message service). Wikipedia defines it as:

“…the act of composing and sending electronic messages, typically consisting of alphabetic and numeric characters, between two or more users of mobile phones, fixed devices (e.g., desktop computers) or portable devices (e.g., tablet computers or smartphones). Text messages are usually sent over a phone network, but they can also be sent over a cable network or Local Area Network. This is due to the convergence between the telecommunication and broadcasting industries in the 2000s. The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS). It has grown beyond alphanumeric text to include multimedia messages (known as MMS) containing digital images, videos, and sound content, as well as ideograms known as emoji (happy faces and other icons).”

Texting segments

One thing people don’t often consider about text messaging is GSM encoding. Have you ever heard of segmenting? North American phone carriers use GSM encoding. Therefore, when any Unicode characters are sent, they are segmented per every 70 characters. When characters such as letters with accents from other languages or emojis (aka non-GSM characters) are used, messages get segmented much faster by the 70 characters rather than being segmented per every 160 characters when a text message only includes GSM characters.

Business communication and texting

Life would be impossible to survive without the ability to communicate via text messaging, right? Well, it seems so now but if we throw light in history, people did survive without it before. However, business communication was simply much slower. With the rise of mobile phone, texting has become much easier and faster.

Communicating through email might as well be carried by a pigeon since you never know if it’s going into a spam box or if it even ends up in your recipients’ inbox. Yesterday’s communications methods can never live up to business SMS. A text message that pops up on the front of someone’s cell phone will simply be seen and likely responded to.

When did texting actually start?

When did texting start? The SMS concept was developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. Using his personal in his home, Hillebrand typed random sentences and questions, counting every letter, number, and space. Almost every time, the messages amounted to fewer than 160 characters and thus the concept for the perfect-length, rapid fire “short message” was born.

The first text message wasn’t sent until 1992 from Neil Papworth, then a 22 year-old communications engineer working in the United Kingdom. Papworth’s text message was sent from a PC since phone didn’t yet have keyboards. His message was sent to a friend named Richard Jarvis, who at the time worked at the U.K. service Vodafone. The message read, “Merry Christmas.” Jarvis could not reply back because his Orbitel 901 phone had no way of inputting the text.

The text commercial service launched in 1995 though texting didn’t really take off right away. When it was finally possible to exchange an SMS between the four major British cell phone networks in 1998, texting started to gain attention. After that, texting became ubiquitous. It changed from 1 billion in 1999 to 30 billion in 2005 in the UK.  Text messaging caught on earlier in Europe and Asia because the U.S. had many unique challenges in combining networks running different technologies (CDMA, TDMA, GSM, iDEN) to enable truly open text messaging across all networks.

In United States, text messaging emerged later on but it still managed to gain a lot of attention before the time period it took in United Kingdoms. It reached 30 billion in 2001. Wireless phone service providers began to connect their networks for text messaging in November 2001. Since the groundbreaking launch of AT&T Wireless’ inter-carrier text messaging program in November 2001, followed by a CTIA-led interoperability consortium including national carriers and others early in 2002. The number of text messages in the United States grew astronomically to over seven (7) billion messages sent every month as of 6 years ago.

Texting was much more difficult in the beginning with keypads that weren’t yet optimized for texting. These limitations caused birth of a generation of shortened words and abbreviations. People created their own shortcuts; for instance, by the way became BTW and CUL8R became the short form of see you later. Emoticons also came into existence which made expressing feelings a lot easier and fun too. There was a lot of hype about mobile phones being banned in classrooms and that did happen. However, they weren’t able to do so for long as it became mainstream too fast. It also became easier to cheat in classrooms (thanks to text messaging).

Text messaging is not just a form of communication anymore. It is entertainment too! A bored person could pick up their cell phone and start texting their favorite people, best friends, and family. Texting is used in multiple ways for different purposes even now. Bigger companies use it for major public announcements and a lot of governments use texting for letting people know about the bad weather conditions coming their way! So if people aren’t even watching television, they get to know the news.

The birth of texting was a savior for everyone. It has not just made life easier in terms of communication or entertainment but has done so in various fields of life! This is why a company like SendHub makes sense for so many types of organizations.

Think about the communication you do in your life whether it be business communication, announcements at your church, or notices from a charity that’s important to you. Imagine using SMS for communication in the future.


When did texting officially start?

Texting officially started on December 3, 1992, when the first SMS (Short Message Service) text message was sent.

What was the first text message ever sent?

The first text message sent was “Merry Christmas,” transmitted in December 1992 by Neil Papworth, a software programmer.

Who invented texting?

Texting was developed by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert in the late 1980s as part of the creation of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard.

How has texting evolved since its inception?

Since its inception, texting has evolved from simple SMS messages to include MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), emojis, and integration with internet-based messaging platforms, significantly enhancing the way we communicate.