Short Messaging Service

by : Ian Ball

Short Messaging Service (SMS) was initially a property of only GSM. The service originated in the year 1985. However now it has also expanded to other mobile standards such as CDNA etc.


The Short Messaging Service, requires the service centre. This service centre would act as the mediator between, the sending and receiving of the messages. The messages originating from the phones of the subscribers of a particular network would, reach the service centre, from which it would be directed to receivers in a fixed network or Value Added Service Providers. The SMS is supported by all the digital mobile phones.


SMS being used as one of the services in a mobile phone standard actually originated very late. It was felt that SMS could be used to deliver service messages to the subscribers such as the voice mail information etc. However, some people had ideas of expanding this service as a separate mode of communication itself. By 1985, the idea of incorporating SMS as one of the services of GSM, came into light. The discussions over the services of GSM, finally gave rise to three recommendations:

1.Short message mobile terminated: This was to enable a network to transmit a text message to a mobile phone. The message could have originated from a software application or phone.

2.Short message mobile originated: This was to enable a network to transmit a text message from a mobile phone. The message would be sent to a software application or a phone.

3.Broadcast of the messages.

These suggestions were then forwarded for implementation and after several years of research and development, the service came into being. The first commercial SMS is believed to have been sent in the year 1992, by the Vodafone GSM network.

Initially there were very cold responses to the service, as there was not much awareness and a statistics showed that, at those times, the customers were sending only 0.4 messages per GSM customer per month. This was mainly because of the fact that the operators were slow in setting up charging system and there were many billing frauds associated with it.

Nowadays, the service has expanded beyond GSM and many mobile standards have come up with the service. It is also interesting to note that SMS has developed into the fastest means of communication. When considering communication factors, such as phone calls not being picked up, the SMS turns out to be the fastest mode of communication.

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