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SMS celebrates 15th birthday

Antony Savvas

The company that sent the first SMS mobile text message is celebrating the technology's 15th birthday.

Next generation mobile messaging firm Airwide Solutions sent the first SMS message over the Vodafone network in December 1992.

The message sent said simply "Merry Christmas", and the man who sent it is still working as an engineer for Airwide today.

Neil Papworth, then working for the company as a test engineer, today a principle software engineer, said, "I was a young engineer working on new communications technologies. We thought SMS was a clever way for a company's staff to send simple messages to one another.

"I would never have predicted that it would spread into the consumer world and become what it is today. At the time it did not seem like a big deal."

The firm this week hosted an industry dinner to mark the anniversary. John Delaney, an Ovum analyst who attended, said, "The industry is still struggling to find new services that are anywhere near as popular and profitable as the 15-year-old SMS.

"SMS is simple, ubiquitous, easy to use and cost-effective. These are the guiding principles that all new services must follow, if they are to succeed on the same scale as SMS."





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