SMS: a 30-year love message

SMS: un messaggio d'amore lungo 30 anni thumbnail

On December 3, 1992, a British engineer and programmer called Neil Papworth sent the first short message using a mobile device. It was a simple Christmas greeting to a colleague. Of course, a Christmas greeting sent well in advance, but revolutionary, because it was the first message sent in the form of Short Message Service. Thus, 30 years ago, the first SMS in history was born.

What would happen next is all a huge medley of gimmicks. Telephone promotions, the invention of an entire language (which today is very booming, but which in the early 2000s was more topical than italics). Even a form of romanticism made up of squeals and abbreviations, between a TVB and a TVUMDB. Stuff that even the Elio and the Tese Stories they decided, as only they knew how to do, to write a song about it.

Best wishes SMS: TVB

The first company to understand the potential of SMS, after sending the first message in December 1992, was Nokia, which in 1993 implemented the functionality on its (then not so smart)phones. How did it go? Flash forward of only 6 years: in December 1999, between messages of good wishes and panic for the imminent Millennium Bug, there were a total of well 17 billion text messages sent (and, obviously, as many received).

The first real boom came with the new millennium, when companies also began to use SMS to communicate with customers and employees. In 2002 alone, 250 billion text messages were sent and in 2007 the messages sent in one year were well 4.100 billionthe. Around those years, banks also began to make massive use of it, albeit with a different purpose: banking institutions sent passwords or other information which, for security reasons, it was preferable not to communicate via email. In short a kind of 2-factor authentication ante litteram.

The early 2000s, however, saw the definitive explosion of another phenomenon: web chat. Services such as MSN they revolutionized communications via computer and it didn’t take long for similar services to arrive on mobile devices, thanks to the first smartphones. Indeed, it arrived in 2009 WhatsAppwhich also had to contend with competition from services such as Viber, Facebook Messenger e iMessage. Despite this, SMS resisted and the absolute record was recorded in 2010: 6,100 billion text messages sent in just one year.

30 years later: what role do SMS play today?

In 2022, 30 years after the first revolutionary SMS was sent, these have not disappeared permanently, quite the contrary. One would have to say that technology has aged very well, having taken on a completely different role in contemporary society. SMS are still used every day today, as a form of authentication for web services, or even as a marketing tool by companies. Not only that, however, companies prefer to use SMS for official communications with their employees (such as appointment reminders or work shift confirmations) and healthcare companies use them to communicate the results of any tests.

“The SMS turns 30, but it doesn’t show it. In fact, in certain areas we are witnessing a real boom and this year it is expected that over 30 billion will be sent”, he says Domitilla Cortelletti, Marketing Manager of “Since it is a technology that has been consolidated for many years, SMS is, in fact, considered much more reliable than instant messaging, therefore, perfect for emergency or otherwise important communications such as sending temporary passwords, delivery notices, confirmations of appointments, communication of work shifts and much more. But this is not the only advantage of text messages, because compared to messaging they are also considered less invasive of the private sphere and reach all telephones, not just smartphones”

In short, this year we will hardly send text messages to our loved ones, and yet, without paying too much attention to it, the Short Message Services are still present in our lives. Best wishes SMS: we love you, indeed, TVB.

Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.