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Send, Message, Send: The SMS and Its Role in Mobile Communication

Since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1872, it has been widely used by people for calling. The invention of the radio by Guglielmo Marconi, known as wireless telegraphy, has paved the way for birth of mobile communication, which used handheld talking radios known as “walkie talkies”. These devices have been effective since their use on World War II, although the frequency limits the communication distance connecting them, in comparison to telephones. Later, the cordless phone was invented to provide people the convenience of calling people anywhere around their homes.

That’s just on the oral communication side, the written side of communication has innovated since people created drawings during prehistoric times. Alphabets came to existence as part of languages people speak since the Sumerian civilization, which led to the concept of sending and receiving written messages. Before telephones and radios were invented, people write letters and send them to their recipients through the use of postal service. It was not long until computers and Internet came to existence within the 1980s, resulting to the use of electronic mail (email) that sends and receives messages conveniently without the costly reliance on various modes of delivery.

Combining the history of both oral and written communication, SMS or short message service emerged since its first application to mobile phones in December 1982. After its debut, the number of SMS active users has grown to 2.4 billion, which makes up 74% of all mobile phone consumers. In fact, SMS has been widely used by advertisers to endorse their products and services due to the rising number of cell phone users. Due to its reliability to various consumers, 4.1 trillion text messages were sent as of 2008, making SMS text messaging service a large-scale industry, with its value worth more than $ 81,000,000,000 worldwide as of 2006.

Everyone who has experience on using mobile phones knows what SMS does. For those who don’t, SMS is simply defined as sending text messages and its one of the widely used functions of the mobile phone other than calling. It became part of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in 1985, wherein its technical definition is about sending a message consisting of a maximum of 160 characters. SMS users also changed the concept of using languages in order to hasten the communication process and to conveniently send short messages better at a limited space. For example, the English word “you” becomes “u”, since both the word and the letter are pronounced similarly. The shortcut words, like “u” and “y”, are also being used as part of Internet slang.

SMS works in a technical process, wherein the messages are delivered to a Short Message Service Center, which applies the “store and forward” method. It involves storing the message in a temporary location before being delivered to its last destination, which is the recipient of the text message. As mentioned earlier the maximum characters to be typed in an SMS message is 160, which includes letters, numbers, symbols, and spaces. Messages with higher content can be sent through the use of several messages, wherein each one is initiated with a user data header (UDH) that has segmentation information.

That’s how SMS is understood in terms of history, definition, and process. You may wonder yourself which function is cooler to use, calling or SMS. What matters the most is that SMS has changed the modern society that it has taken communication all the way to the next level.

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Communications
Mobile Communication
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