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SMS : Send Free SMS

Short Message Service (SMS) is a text messaging service component of phone, web, or mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between fixed line or mobile phone devices. SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world, with 2.4 billion active users, or 74% of all mobile phone subscribers.[citation needed] The term SMS is used as a synonym for all types of short text messaging as well as the user activity itself in many parts of the world. SMS is also being used as a form of direct marketing known as SMS marketing.[1] SMS as used on modern handsets was originated from radio telegraphy in radio memo pagers using standardized phone protocols and later defined as part of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) series of standards in 1985[2] as a means of sending messages of up to 160 characters,[3] to and from GSM mobile handsets.[4] Since then, support for the service has expanded to include other mobile technologies such as ANSI CDMA networks and Digital AMPS, as well as satellite and landline networks.[citation needed] Most SMS messages are mobile-to-mobile text messages though the standard supports other types of broadcast messaging as well.

The idea of adding text messaging to the services of mobile users was not frequent in many communities of mobile communication services at the beginning of the 1980s. The first action plan of the CEPT Group GSM, approved in December 1982, requested "The services and facilities offered in the public switched telephone networks and public data networks... should be available in the mobile system".[5] This target includes the exchange of text messages either directly between mobile stations, or transmitted via Message Handling Systems widely in use since the beginning of the 1980s.[6]

The SMS concept was developed in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984 by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert.[7] The innovation in SMS is Short. The GSM is optimized for telephony, since this was identified as its main application. The key idea for SMS was to use this telephony-optimized system, and to transport messages on the signaling paths needed to control the telephony traffic during time periods when no signaling traffic existed. In this way, unused resources in the system could be used to transport messages at minimal cost. However, it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved to 140 bytes, or 160 seven-bit characters) so that the messages could fit into the existing signaling formats.

This concept allowed SMS to be implemented in every mobile station by updating its software. This concept was instrumental for the implementation of SMS in every mobile station ever produced and in every network from early days. Hence, a large base of SMS capable terminals and networks existed when the users began to utilize the SMS.[8] A new network element required was a specialized short message service center, and enhancements were required to the radio capacity and network transport infrastructure to accommodate growing SMS traffic

The technical development of SMS was a multinational collaboration supporting the framework of standards bodies, and through these organizations the technology was made freely available to the whole world. This is described and supported by evidence in the following sections.[9]

The first proposal which initiated the development of SMS was made by a contribution of Germany and France into the GSM group meeting in February 1985 in Oslo.[10] This proposal was further elaborated in GSM subgroup WP1 Services (Chairman Martine Alvernhe, France Telecom) based on a contribution from Germany. There were also initial discussions in the subgroup WP3 network aspects chaired by Jan Audestad (Telenor). The result was approved by the main GSM group in a June '85 document which was distributed to industry.[11] The input documents on SMS had been prepared by Friedhelm Hillebrand (Deutsche Telekom) with contributions from Bernard Ghillebaert (France Télécom).

SMS was considered in the main GSM group as a possible service for the new digital cellular system. In GSM document "Services and Facilities to be provided in the GSM System",[2] both mobile-originated and mobile-terminated short messages appear on the table of GSM teleservices.

The discussions on the GSM services were concluded in the recommendation GSM 02.03 "TeleServices supported by a GSM PLMN".[12] Here a rudimentary description of the three services was given:

Short message Mobile Terminated (SMS-MT)/ Point-to-Point: the ability of a network to transmit a Short Message to a mobile phone. The message can be sent by phone or by a software application.
Short message Mobile Originated (SMS-MO)/ Point-to-Point: the ability of a network to transmit a Short Message sent by a mobile phone. The message can be sent to a phone or to a software application.
Short message Cell Broadcast.

The material elaborated in GSM and its WP1 subgroup was handed over in Spring 1987 to a new GSM body called IDEG (the Implementation of Data and Telematic Services Experts Group), which had its kickoff in May 1987 under the chairmanship of Friedhelm Hillebrand (German Telecom). The technical standard known today was largely created by IDEG (later WP4) as the two recommendations GSM 03.40 (the two point-to-point services merged together) and GSM 03.41 (cell broadcast).

WP4 created a Drafting Group Message Handling (DGMH), which was responsible for the specification of SMS. Finn Trosby of Telenor chaired the draft group through its first 3 years, in which the design of SMS was established. DGMH had about five to eight participants, and Finn Trosby mentions as major contributors Kevin Holley, Eija Altonen, Didier Luizard and Alan Cox. The first action plan[13] mentions for the first time the Technical Specification 03.40 “Technical Realisation of the Short Message Service”. Responsible editor was Finn Trosby. The first and very rudimentary draft of the technical specification was completed in November 1987.[14] However, drafts useful for the manufacturers followed at a later stage in the period. A comprehensive description of the work in this period is given in.[15]

The work on the draft specification continued in the following few years, where Kevin Holley of Cellnet (now Telefonica O2 UK) played a leading role. Besides the completion of the main specification GSM 03.40, the detailed protocol specifications on the system interfaces also needed to be completed.

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