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The world's first text message was sent 31 years ago

The world's first text message was sent 31 years ago

People have been texting for 31 years now

It's just gone 31 years since the first ever text message in the world was sent and since then there must have been trillions of texts.

However, there always has to be a first and that fateful first message was delivered a little over 31 years ago and was just two words long.

Back in those heady old days of 1992, Vodafone were working on their SMS service which would allow people to text each other.

It was a little way off being completed, but on 3 December of that year engineer Neil Papworth sent the message 'Merry Christmas' to colleague Richard Jarvis.

The first ever text was sent from an Orbitel 901 handset and kicked off texting, albeit rather slowly as technology took a bit of time to catch up.

The first ever text message, since then there have been countless more.
Vodafone

It wasn't long before Nokia included texting on their phones, even including the 'beep' tone to alert people they had a message the year after Papworth sent the world's first text message.

At first people couldn't text on their mobile as they didn't have proper keypads.

After that, there was also the hurdle of only being able to text people on the same phone network, which remained the case until 1999.

But before long it was all figured out and a billion fingers tip-tapped their messages out onto a billion phones.

"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," Papworth said.

"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."

Texting has come a long way since Neil Papworth sent the first one back in 1992.
Vodafone

The iconic first ever text message ended up being consumed by that recent wheeze designed to part people from their money in exchange for something of no real value, the NFT.

A couple of years ago Vodafone announced that they'd be auctioning off an NFT of the first ever text message with proceeds going towards the United Nations Refugee Agency.

In one of the only instances where buying an NFT could be an understandable purchase, someone paid $149,729 (£118,091) for the token that was certainly not fungible.

It was bought by an anonymous buyer who paid in the cryptocurrency Ether, and they also received a frame with a 3D animation of the message being received.

Featured Image Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images/Getty Stock Images

Topics: Technology, Phones