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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Texter" redirects here. For the American surname, see Texter (surname).
"Txt msg" redirects here. For the TV series, see Pop-Up Video.
For more details on this topic, see SMS.
A user typing a text message on an LG enV (VX9900)
Text messaging, or texting, is the act of composing and sending brief, electroni
c messages between two or more mobile phones, or fixed or portable devices over
a phone network. The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short M
essage Service (SMS). It has grown to include messages containing image, video,
and sound content (known as MMS messages). The sender of a text message is known
as a texter, while the service itself has different colloquialisms depending on
the region. It may simply be referred to as a text in North America, the United
Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, an SMS in most of mainland
Europe, and an MMS or SMS in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Text messages can be used to interact with automated systems, for example, to or
der products or services, or to participate in contests. Advertisers and service
providers use direct text marketing to message mobile phone users about promoti
ons, payment due dates, et cetera instead of using mail, e-mail or voicemail.
In 1933 RCA Communications, New York introduced the first "telex" service.[1] Th
e first messages over RCA transatlantic circuits were sent between New York and
London. Seven million words or 300,000 radiograms transmitted the first year.[ci
tation needed] Alphanumeric messages have long been sent by radio using via Radi
otelegraphy.[2] Digital information began being sent using radio as early as 197
1 by the University of Hawaii using ALOHAnet.[citation needed]
The concept of the SMS was created by Friedhelm Hillebrand, while he was working
for Deutsche Telekom. Sitting at a typewriter at home, Hillebrand typed out ran
dom sentences and counted every letter, number, punctuation, and space. Almost e
very time, the messages amounted to 160 characters, thus being the basis for the
limit one could type via text.[3] With Bernard Ghillebaert of France Tlcom, he de
veloped a proposal for the GSM group meeting in February 1985 in Oslo.[4] The fi
rst technical solution was developed in a GSM subgroup under the leadership of F
inn Trosby. It was further developed under the leadership of Kevin Holley and Ia
n Harris (see Wikipedia: Short Message Service).[5]
SMS messaging was used for the first time on 3 December 1992, when Neil Papworth
, a 22-year-old test engineer for Sema Group in the UK[6] (now Airwide Solutions
),[7] used a personal computer to send the text message "Merry Christmas" via th
e Vodafone network to the phone of Richard Jarvis[8][9] who was at a party in Ne
wbury, Berkshire which had been organised to celebrate the event.
Modern SMS text messaging is understood to be messaging from one mobile phone to
another mobile phone. Radiolinja became the first network to offer commercial p
erson-to-person SMS text messaging service in 1994. When Radiolinja's domestic c
ompetitor, Telecom Finland (now part of TeliaSonera) also launched SMS text mess
aging in 1995 and the two networks offered cross-network SMS functionality, Finl
and became the first nation where SMS text messaging was offered as a competitiv
e as well as commercial basis.[citation needed]
The first text messaging service in the United States was provided by American P
ersonal Communications (APC), the first GSM carrier in America. Sprint Telecommu
nications Venture, a partnership of Sprint Corp. and three large cable TV compan
ies, owned 49 percent of APC. The Sprint venture was the largest single buyer at
a government-run spectrum auction that raised $7.7 billion in 2005 for PCS lice
nses. APC operated under the brand name of Sprint Spectrum and launched service
on November 15, 1995 in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. The initial ca
ll to launch the network was made from Vice President Al Gore in Washington, D.C

. to Mayor Kurt Schmoke in Baltimore.[10] Soon to follow was Omnipoint Communica

tions.[11] Omnipoint's George Schmitt, a former Airtouch executive[12] who launc
hed commercial GSM in Germany, recruited Roger Wood[13] from competitor iDEN / N
extel led a team that introduced texting as a commercial service in New York Cit
y in November 1996.[9] In preparation for the company's launch party in New York
's Central Park, Wood and co-worker Mark Caron[14] sent the first SMS Text messa
ge of "George are you there?" to Schmitt during a Sunday morning RF drive test o
n October 20, 1996. Omnipoint soon offered the first texting between the U.S. an
d the rest of the world.[15] The tipping point for text messaging was the 1998 m
arketing plan conceived by Wood which encouraged consumers to use texting as the
primary way to communicate with their home countries while traveling overseas i
nstead of calling home.[16] This positioning set the stage for text messaging as
the primary means of contact between two or more people not in their home count
Initial growth of text messaging was slow, with customers in 1995 sending on ave
rage only 0.4 message per GSM customer per month.[18] One factor in the slow tak
e-up of SMS was that operators were slow to set up charging systems, especially
for prepaid subscribers, and eliminate billing fraud, which was possible by chan
ging SMSC settings on individual handsets to use the SMSCs of other operators. O
ver time, this issue was eliminated by switch-billing instead of billing at the
SMSC and by new features within SMSCs to allow blocking of foreign mobile users
sending messages through it.[citation needed]
SMS is available on a wide range of networks, including 3G networks. However, no
t all text messaging systems use SMS, and some notable alternate implementations
of the concept include J-Phone's SkyMail and NTT Docomo's Short Mail, both in J
apan. E-mail messaging from phones, as popularized by NTT Docomo's i-mode and th
e RIM BlackBerry, also typically use standard mail protocols such as SMTP over T
Today, text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service, with 74% of a
ll mobile phone users worldwide, or 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion phone subscri
bers, at end of 2007 being active users of the Short Message Service. In countri
es such as Finland, Sweden and Norway, over 85% of the population use SMS. The E
uropean average is about 80%, and North America is rapidly catching up with over
60% active users of SMS by end of 2008. The largest average usage of the servic
e by mobile phone subscribers is in the Philippines, with an average of 27 texts
sent per day by subscriber.
In a straight and concise definition for the purposes of this English language a
rticle, text messaging by phones or mobile phones should include all 26 letters
of the alphabet and 10 numerals, i.e., alpha-numeric messages, or text, to be se
nt by texter or received by the textee.