SMS – What is it and how does it work for businesses?


Created in 1985 by Friedhelm Hillebrand, the term SMS stands for Short Message Service.

It’s a commonly used electronic data application with a goal to exchange short text messages from one mobile phone user to another.

However, a text message is limited to 160 characters only, including a number, punctuation mark, space, or symbol.

You’re probably wondering why there are only 160 characters per text message.

Well, it’s because of the available message size when this data app was created with only 140 bytes (7-bit characters * 160 = 1120 bits). And this has been the standard since!

Here’s a brief timeline on SMS:

1984 – invented by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert, with a goal to transport short messages at a minimal cost.

1985 – Officially created but the length is limited to 160 7-bit characters to make it suitable to the existing signaling paths at the time.

1992 – The first text message ever sent from a computing machine to a cellular phone was “Merry Christmas”.

1994 – The birth of phone-to-phone text messaging.

1997 – Finnish telco Nokia introduces the first cellular phone with an alphanumeric keyboard.

1998 – Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita created (and sent) the very first emoji in history.

2001 – J-Phone (Sharp Corporation) introduces the first photo messaging service with its camera-enabled handheld device J-SH04.

2002 – Sony Ericsson launches the first Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

2007 – hits a worldwide record of 1 billion daily exchange of text messages.

And as they say, the rest is history.

Where does SMS stand today?

Today, SMS isn’t just your ordinary data application, but also a way to drive business growth through text message marketing.

Text marketing has unique features and advantages that a marketer will not find anywhere else. For example, it’s the cheapest way to communicate with customers.

It’s easy to use and there are literally billions of users to reach out to as long as you have their permission.

Other features you can take advantage of are as follows:

Send and receive messages instantly– Send out text messages any day of the week and it’ll be received and opened within seconds!

Branding– Before you could send out anything, you’ll be asked to choose your own keyword and even a mobile short code for your text messaging campaigns.

Take this opportunity to customize both features based on your brand name and image.

Automation– Never miss sending out birthday greetings, important advisories, or announcements to your customers by automating the text messages.

Reporting and tracking– text marketing platform has a reporting and analytics feature that you can use to monitor your campaign real-time.