From The Telegraph (UK):
On December 3 1992, engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS message to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone. It simply read “Merry Christmas,” and Jarvis had no way of replying.
The idea of sending short messages via mobile phone only became a focus for telecoms companies in the UK years later, though the first commercial SMS service was launched in Sweden in 1993 by Telia.
Most companies in 1994 were investing heavily in pagers, but consumers’ enthusiasm for texts, which did not require the intermediary of an operator, meant a change of tack from from the mid-1990s onwards.
Vodafone in the UK launched text messaging in 1994. At that time texts were completely free but could be sent only to people on the same network. The medium gained instant popularity among students, who soon began shortening words into “text speak.”
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