First SMS was sent 20 years ago

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

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

Tags: Headline, Neil Papworth, sms, Vodafone

Free Email Newsletter:
Subscribe

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – technology images can be found here

Join the conversation

Connect with MyBB

twitterfacebookandroidappleblackberrynewsletterfeed

Poll

Which tech brand do you like the most?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

ADSL vs Mobile broadband prices in SA

DSL cut cord

There are cases where mobile broadband can be cheaper and faster than DSL in South Africa. At what point is DSL worth it?

Media hackers behind E-toll billing problems: Minister

E-toll hack

South Africa’s Minister of Transport has accused “some media houses” of hacking the E-toll website and blamed the hacks for billing problems

OpenView HD viewer numbers revealed

OVHD open TV

Platco Digital has responded to a statement from Ellies in its annual results, which said that the uptake of OpenView HD has been slow

New numbers for machines, premium rated services

SMS worry

New premium rated and machine related numbers will come into effect in October 2014 in South Africa

bool(true)