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

Have you ever lied on your CV?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Top tech specials this weekend

Sale

If you are looking for a tablet, TV, or laptop, you can save thousands of rands this weekend

Another SA iStore robbed

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013.

Another iStore was robbed in Gauteng on Friday — this time at Centurion Mall in Pretoria, police said

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s fake Facebook profiles

The loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

There are several fake Facebook accounts purporting to be those of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, his ministry said on Friday

SABC won’t be held to ransom by actors: Motsoeneng

SABC logo TV screens

The SABC will not allow itself to be held to ransom by actors, the public broadcaster’s COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng said on Friday

Free MyBroadband Newsletter:
Subscribe
X
bool(true)