Short Message Service (SMS) is celebrating its 25th birthday.
SMS was developed in the eighties, with the first SMS message sent over a Vodafone GSM network in the UK in December 1992.
The SMS read “Merry Christmas”.
Following its creation, many mobile networks initially provided SMS services for free.
The high uptake of the service meant operators soon realised the value of SMS, however, and started charging for the service.
There was a decline of 25%-40% in texting after networks started charging for SMS, but it soon gained more traction – reaching 2.4 billion active users, 74% of all mobile phone subscribers.
SMS has suffered a big decline in recent years, thanks to the rise of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
The graph below shows Vodacom’s last reported SMS volumes, with the most recent figures available from January 2015.