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25 years since the world’s first SMS

Orbitel 901 SMS 25 yearsThe Orbitel 901. Photo: imei


25 years since the world’s first SMS

“Merry Christmas”, Richard Jarvis could read on his mobile phone Orbitel 901 on December 3, 1992. He had just received the world’s first SMS from engineer Neil Papworth.


Papworth was employed as a software developer in a company in Reading in the UK. The company tried to develop a method that made it possible to send text messages to its customer Vodafone UK.

As part of this project, 22-year-old Papworth sent a message to Vodafone boss Jarvis, December 3, 1992. “Merry Christmas,” the message read that Jarvis received while eating Christmas lunch with his colleagues.

Thereby, Jarvis had received the world’s first SMS. But it is part of the story that the message was not sent from another phone, but from a computer. At that time, phones could only receive text messages, not send them.

“I’m not sure if we actually thought this would be something big,” said Papworth to Tech2 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary.

Phones with SMS capabilities came on the market the following year, in 1993. In line with the spread of mobile phones, the popularity of text messages increased. But since then, the text messages, which go through the voice network, have increasingly met with competition from online services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Skype.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today


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