Airwide Engineer Recalls First Text

The engineer who was responsible for delivering the first ever text message in December 1992 has responded to Ofcoms Communication Nation report, released today, which shows that people in the UK are spending more time using communications services than ever before.
The report shows that in 2007 we spent an average of 7 hours and 9 minutes a day using an array of communications services – up by 6 minutes from 2002. This includes watching TV, surfing the net, using our mobiles, talking on a landline phone and listening to the radio.
Mobile and Internet use has increased by the greatest amount. Between 2002 and 2007 the time we spent talking and texting on our mobiles doubled, up from 5 minutes to 10 minutes each day. Meanwhile, time spent on PCs and lap-tops has grown fourfold between 2002 and 2007 – from 6 minutes to 24 minutes per person every day.
By the end of 2007, there were almost 74 million mobile connections serving a population of 60 million in the UK. This was an increase of 3.7 million connections since the end of 2006. The total number of mobile connections increased by 48% in the five years from 2002.
Seven out of 10 people with a mobile phone and a landline use their mobile to make calls, even when they are at home. One in 10 people with a landline at home said that they never use it to make calls.
The report also found what most people already know: we are a nation of texters. In the UK, nearly 60 billion text messages were sent in 2007 – an increase of 36% since 2006 and up by 234% since 2002, when we sent 17 billion texts. The average mobile phone user sent 67 texts per month from each mobile in 2007, compared to 53 texts per month in 2006.
Back in December 1992, Neil Papworth  was working as a test engineer for Airwide Solutions, who sent that first text message, saying Happy Christmas over the Vodafone network. Still employed by Airwide, as Principal Software Engineer, Papworth said today:
I was a young engineer working on new communications technologies. We thought SMS was a clever way for a companys staff to send simple messages to one another. Id never have predicted that it would spread into the consumer world and become what it is today. At the time it didnt seem like a big deal.
Jay Seaton, Chief Marketing Officer at Airwide Solutions, adds:
Text messaging has come a long way since 1992. What started off as a clever and innovative internal communications tool has become a huge revenue-generating tool for mobile operators worldwide.We are still seeing SMS volumes continue to increase, particularly in countries with developing mobile networks, such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia. Not only do we expect this growth to continue well into the future, but SMS will be one of the underpinning technologies that drives many new uses beyond person-to-person texting.

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