First SMS was sent 20 years ago

Monday 3 December marks 20 years since the world’s first SMS was sent

By - December 1, 2012
SMS

Monday 3 December marks 20 years since the world’s first SMS was sent via Vodafone UK’s GSM network. The message was received on an Orbitel 901 handset and said “Merry Christmas”.

The person who sent the message was Neil Papworth. Vodacom conducted an interview with Papworth via SMS to celebrate the event.

What was the idea behind trying to send a text message that day?

Neil> We were demonstrating that txt msging worked outside the lab.

Why were you picked to send the message?

Neil> I was one of a number of ppl testing and had done much of the installation & integration on the customer site.

How did you check the message was delivered, where was the receiving party?

Neil> Richard Jarvis was @ the Vdf [Vodafone] Christmas party. A colleague next to him was on the phone (how old-fashioned!) to a Vdf mgr next to me.

Orbitel 901 handset

Orbitel 901 handset

How did you come up with “Merry Christmas” on December 3rd? Did you think it would take that long to deliver? :-)

Neil> What else would u send to a Christmas party ? :-)

What was the moment, the atmosphere like when the message was sent and delivered?

Neil> It was a professional moment. We were under pressure 2 deliver, & we did. When it works, u just think “GR8 !”

When did you realise you were the pioneer of a majorly successful global communication tool?

Neil> Ha, well I didn’t even think about it b4 it was widely reported on the 10th anniversary. So, about 10 yrs ago !

What impact did the SMS have on your life personally?

Neil> I continued working with SMS for almost 20 yrs. Every yr I get a good 5 mins of fame, from coverage in the local paper 2 starring in a Superbowl ad!

Neil Papworth

Neil Papworth

What was the most important or most memorable SMS you have sent or received?

Neil> Announcing the births of my 3 kids 2 family & friends.

What famous person would you like to send a text message to and what would you write?

Neil> I’m a big F1 fan. I’d txt fellow Brit Jenson Button & say, “C u @ the race in Montreal. Fancy a pint ?”. U got his # ?

Who should never text you?

Neil> My kids. Until they r old enough 2 own a phone & pay the bill themselves. :-)

Imagine you had the chance to send a text message to all mobile phones in the world – what would your message be?

Neil> Don’t txt & drive!

When did you write a real letter for the last time?

Neil> OMG. When I was @ Vodacom in Johannesburg I wrote some letters 2 my mum ! That was maybe 1994 !

Related articles

Bulk SMS price debacle laid bare

The true cost of an SMS

SMS pricing change for SA looming?

Cell C SMS change opens can of worms

You are losing out on mobile data

Forum discussion

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – more technology images

Join the conversation

Connect with Us

androidappletwitterfacebookgoogleplusfeednewsletter

Poll

What is the most important aspect of a mobile service to you?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Power ships can solve South Africa’s short-term energy problems

Karadeniz Energy Group powership

A set of floating power stations, moored at a number of South African harbours, would provide much needed electricity to the country, writes Roger Lilley

How to let go of your smartphone

Cracked screen

We all know the scare stories. Growing numbers of people are becoming addicted to the internet and constantly checking their digital gadgets.

Eskom scrapped a tender that would have saved R1 billion

Eskom

Underhanded lobbying, delaying tactics and internal squabbling scuppered the power utility’s economical and innovative IT plan, writes Lionel Faull, Sam Sole and Stefaans Brummer

Standard Bank apologizes for national ATM problems

Standard bank

No one wants to struggle to draw money at an ATM on payday, but that’s exactly what happened with several Standard Bank clients

X

Newsletter Subscription


Name
Email *
Enter the following to confirm your subscription *
Captcha image


Free MyBroadband Newsletter
Subscribe
X
bool(true)