It’s 25 Years To The Day Since The First Ever Text Message Was Sent

It's hard to imagine a world without the ability to send GIFs, memes, videos or just plain text to your mates, family members or work colleagues. But obviously, people back in the day didn't have access to such technology and had to rely either on phone calls or rock-solid plans that couldn't change at the drop of a hat.

But on this day, 25 years ago, the first ever text message was sent to a mobile phone.

Mobile Phone
Mobile Phone

Credit: PA

Software engineer Neil Papworth was working for Vodafone when he wrote 'Merry Christmas' to company director Richard Jarvis. The then-22-year-old literally created a Short Message Service aka SMS for the communications company and tested out his technology on this day in 1992.

If you're wondering why he would send 'Merry Christmas' on December 3, it was the night of their Xmas party.

It wasn't until a year later that Nokia added in a beep sound to notify the user that a cheeky message had been sent. But the technology was slow to pick up among users because telecommunication companies took a while to establish a charging system and allow people to send a message to someone on a different network.

Everyone who had a phone in the early days of text messaging will remember there was a limit of 160 characters (way before Twitter made it cool) and anything over that would be sent in two messages.

Text Messaging
Text Messaging

Credit: PA

This is what sparked the language that everyone uses today like LOL, TTYL, BRB, IDK and WTF.

Neil Papworth says it's hard to comprehend how big of an impact his development has been. He says: "In 1992, I had no idea just how popular texting would become, and that this would give rise to emojis and messaging apps used by millions.

"I only recently told my children that I sent that first text. Looking back with hindsight, it's clearer to see that the Christmas message I sent was a pivotal moment in mobile history."

Those kids would probably be like, 'Yeah sure dad, you invented the text message, keep dreaming'.


Credit: PA

Incredibly, by 2007, the world was sending 66 billion SMSs every year and a decade later that number jumped to 151 billion, according to Sky News. That could be partly due to the type of people who like to send a message for every sentence or thought rather than grouping it in a single text.

Not going to lie.

I'm definitely that type of person.

What's so wrong with that?

I don't get what the issue is with sending several messages?


Hope you have a good day.

Thanks for reading.

Featured Image Credit: Vodaphone Group

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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