Text messaging and Email are both the most popular means of communication.  More and more people are using their cell phones now, text messaging is becoming the leader.  Who invented it?  How was it brought to market?  These are the topics we will cover in this article.

Who invented Text Messaging?

Text messaging, also known as SMS (Short Message Service), was invented by a team of engineers at the Franco-German company, GSM (Groupe Spécial Mobile) in the 1980s. The team included Friedhelm Hillebrand, Bernard Ghillebaert, and Oculy Silaban.

Friedhelm Hillebrand was one of the key figures behind the development of SMS. He is credited with developing the idea of limiting messages to 160 characters, which was the maximum number of characters that could be transmitted over the existing cellular network at the time. This character limit is still in use today.

The first text message was sent on December 3, 1992, by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old software programmer, who sent the message “Merry Christmas” from a computer to a mobile device using the Vodafone network in the UK.

How was Text Messaging brought to market?

In the 1980’s a company with the name of RAM Mobile Data was purchasing cell towers across the United States.  To leverage the cost of the towers and to actually put them to use they came up with the idea along with a few other smart people who worked with RAM to use the towers to provide data services.  The first was paging.  The first company to use these towers was Pagenet which became very popular in the 1980’s.  The CEO of RAM Mobile Data Michael Kulukundis had the idea of providing additional services such as credit card processing and “Mobile Messaging”.  RAM was able to provide credit card processing much faster than the old dial up modems.  Although they were providing services to companies like Wendys they began working towards “Mobile Messaging”.

RAM Mobile Data turned to RIM (Research In Motion) to create a device which had a small keyboard on it to provide messaging services.  RIM developed this device with Ericson and called it the Blackberry.

Here is a picture of one of the first iterations of the Blackberry.  This is one of the first devices to get the communication functions working. 

The Blackberry became very popular in the 90’s and kept it popularity through 2000’s until Apple and Samsung came out with incredible devices that are now have abilities greater than most computers.

Around 1993-1994 Bell South purchased RAM Mobile Data for an amount that I will not post in this article but do have information on the sale.  Bell South saw the growth potential and made a pretty substantial offer at the time.  On December 29, 2006 AT&T purchased Bell South.  You can follow this link to find out more about AT&T’s history.

In Conclusion there is not much known about the most used communication technology between people.  I thought it was important for people to know where text messaging came from and am honored to be a part of it.

If you have any questions at all please post them here.