Summits Yellow

Happy Birthday SMS

David Murphy

As you will be aware if you haven’t spent the last few days on the moon, today marks the 20th anniversary of the sending of the first text message.

The text was sent by telecoms engineer Neil Papworth, who was working at the time for Sema Group Telecoms. He was was part of the team developing a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) for Vodafone UK.

What is commonly overlooked is that the message was not, in fact, sent from a phone, but from a PC, since mobiles at that time did not have alphanumeric keyboards. It was sent to a man called Richard Jarvis who was working at Vodafone, and it read simply ‘Happy Christmas’.

In the current issue of our quarterly magazine, we have an in-depth look at the history of SMS. You can access the magazine online here. Head for p12 for the SMS feature.