10 facts about text messaging to celebrate 21st B-DAY of SMS

This Is Local London: We can all be glad mobile phones have got better and text messaging is easier now We can all be glad mobile phones have got better and text messaging is easier now

This week is when text messaging reaches a special B-DAY as it turns 21.

You might think the phenomenon which has revolutionised how we communicate originated in Silicon Valley or maybe Tokyo or Seoul.

But it actually started in the less glamorous setting of Newbury in Berkshire, at Vodafone’s HQ to be precise.

Neil Papworth, a test engineer for Sema Group, used a PC in 1992 to send the message ‘Merry Christmas’ via the Vodafone network to a phone.

Originally envisaged as a way of paging people, texting between phones was debuted the next year.

Other SMS tools we now take for granted, such as keyboards, predictive text and sending messages across different networks all came along later in the 1990s.

Since then, as we all know, texting has taken over the world.

Here are some short messages of texting trivia for you to receive:

  • Although it’s increased, the earlier 160-character limit on text messages came about thanks to German engineer Friedhelm Hillebrand who was influential in setting mobile telecommunications standards. It is said that in 1985 he carried out an experiment on his typewriter, typing out sentences and questions which he found generally came in under 160 characters including spaces and punctuation. This, he determined, was a sufficient length for text messages.
  • Twitter started as an SMS-based service and so is linked to the 160-character limit. It maintains a 140-character maximum length for posts, which is 160 minus minus 20 characters for additional content.
  • SMS stands for Short Messaging Service.
  • The average person in the UK sends around 50 text messages a week. This rises to 193 texts a week for the 12-15-year-old group.
  • More than 150 billion text messages were sent in the UK in 2011, almost triple the number sent just five years previously.
  • Two years ago the Oxford Dictionary added the common texting acronym “LOL” (laugh out loud) to its listing.
  • Texting is the most popular way to stay in contact – with more people texting friends and family on a daily basis then talking face to face.
  • Teenage girls text 35 per cent more than boys.
  • It is reported texting earns mobile phone companies an estimated £75 billion a year.
  • The peak time for texting is between 10.30pm and 11pm.

So-called experts once warned electronic communication would destroy personal relationships – do you think this has been the case? Do you think text messaging has improved or damaged how we communicate with one another? In just 21 years texting has become an everyday method for keeping in touch – how do you think we might communicate in another 21 years’ time? Add your comments below.

Don't forget you can always text us with any interesting stories, pictures or videos you have - send a text to 80360 starting your message with keywords NEWS SHOPPER.

Comments (1)

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3:30pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Bob Bentz says...

Interesting statistics, but please provide sources for them.
Interesting statistics, but please provide sources for them. Bob Bentz

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