Texting is 25 years old

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It might not have had GIFs or emojis, but it did have good old fashioned words. US smartphone users are sending and receiving five times as many texts compared with the number of phone calls each day, according to the International Smartphone Mobility Report by mobile data tracking firm Infomate.

If you ever need evidence of how quickly technology has advanced, just think about the fact the first text message ever was sent just 25 years ago.

On the same day that Whitney Houston's I will always love you was the number 1 song in the United States and Home Alone 2 topped the box office, 22-year-old Sema Group software architect Neil Papworth sent the first SMS (Short Message Service).

The US was slower to catch on, mainly because mobile operators there charged more for texts and less for voice calls, and because of the popularity and availability of PC-to-PC instant messaging or IM.

I don't know if they really thought it was going to be a big thing, Mr Papworth says.

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Today is the anniversary of the first SMS (short message service), which simply said "Merry Christmas".

"I only recently told my children that I sent that first text".

A mainstay of modern communication is now 25 years old. As of 2017, users in the United Kingdom only sent 66 billion text messages.

"Of course, it also introduced the danger of them concentrating on their keypad and screen, and not the road or lamppost". Last year, Mark Zuckerberg said that daily activity on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp combined was three times the number of SMS messages sent worldwide-60 billion compared to 20 billion. Prior to the advent of texting, cell phones were only mobile phones, but texting offered a glimpse of what cell phones would one day become.

"So many people now have data plans and there's a great deal of choice of online messaging platforms available".

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