Evolution of SMS Messaging
Evolution of SMS Messaging

The Transformative Journey and Impact of SMS Messaging

The Transformative Journey and Impact of SMS Messaging

SMS messaging was once the most popular means of communication that became prevalent after the inception of mobile devices. It was a more convenient approach to communication than voice calling. The reason is SMS has eliminated the need for both parties to be available at the same time for a conversation.

Today, people are more inclined to instant messaging than text messaging. With advances in technology, SMS has been significantly replaced by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, etc. You may be wondering – Is SMS messaging still relevant?

Well, the statistics about SMS messaging will astonish you.

Around 5 billion people (Approximately 65% of the total population) across the globe still use SMS messaging for communication.

In this blog, we will navigate you through the evolution of SMS messaging and how it is still relevant in today’s Internet-powered world.

The History of SMS Messaging

Before we hop on the history of SMS messaging, let us first briefly discuss what SMS is.

Overview of SMS

SMS is an acronym for Short Message/Messaging Service. This text messaging service supports the exchange of short text messages between mobile devices. It operates on the signaling channels of mobile networks and does not require the Internet connection, unlike instant messaging apps. It uses a specialized channel called the control channel, which is different from voice and data channels.


Did you know that the first SMS was sent on 3 December 1992?

The late 1980s witnessed the idea of introducing the exchange of short text messages. The primary idea was to develop an efficient communication method that meets the constraints of early mobile networks.

In 1992, Neil Papworth, a test engineer at Sema Group, sent the first SMS “Merry Christmas” to his colleague Richard Jarvis’ Orbitel 901 phone. It was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom.

The first commercial deployment of SMS was done by Aldiscon with Telia in Sweden in 1993. Later, in the same year, Fleet Call in the US, Telenor in Norway, and BT Cellnet commercially deployed SMS. Nokia was the only mobile phone brand whose GSM mobile line supported the exchange of SMS messages.

As the use of mobile phones increased globally in the early 2000s, SMS became a widely recognized communication medium.

The Evolution of SMS Messaging

Now that you know the history of SMS, let us now discuss how it evolved after the prevalence of mobile phones.
2000s: Expansion and Popularity

As stated above, the early 2000s witnessed immense popularity and wide adoption of SMS. Mobile carriers introduced monthly texting plans and packages. These plans and packages allowed users to send a certain number of messages at a fixed fee. Many carriers have included a fee as a part of the mobile service package. Consequently, consumers started using SMS aggressively, as it was affordable and convenient.

2007: Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is one step ahead of SMS. You can think of it as an extension of SMS. It lets users exchange multimedia content (audio, text, images, videos, etc.) between mobile devices over a cellular network. Plus, it extends the limit of 160 characters, allowing users to send messages of greater length.

Earlier, many media companies have used MMS as a mode for delivering news and entertainment content. Also, small and medium-sized businesses have deployed it as an effective tool for sending product images and videos and delivering scannable coupon codes and other information to customers.

MMS marked the beginning of exchanging more expressive and richer content with each other.

2008: Rich Communication Services (RCS)

RCS was introduced to overcome the pitfalls of SMS and MMS. These services did not support lengthy messages and high-resolution images. Besides these, they fell short of group messaging, read recipients, and typing indicators.

In short, RCS is a revamped form of text that comes with functionality SMS does not provide. It is a feature-packed service aimed at offering interactive messaging experience.
RCS chats are transmitted over Wi-Fi or mobile data using the rich communication services (RCS) protocol. The prominent feature of RCS chats is they support end-to-end encryption, ensuring high-grade data security and privacy. However, using the RCS chat requires both parties to have RCS, and it only supports Android devices.

2010: Integration of Emojis and Multimedia Content Into Texts

The inception of emojis has made it possible to express emotions via mobile phones. Today, they are widely used by everyone, especially by Gen Zs.

Emojis are an outstanding milestone in the evolution of SMS messaging, as they have the ability to cut message length significantly. Users can communicate their feelings and emotions with one or more emojis rather than typing a long text paragraph.

The integration of emojis and multimedia content into texts adds a new and more powerful dimension to SMS messaging.

2012: Rise of Instant Messaging Apps and Platforms

The advent of instant messaging apps and platforms marked the revolution of SMS services. These apps and platforms leverage instant messaging (IM) technology that facilitates immediate transmission of messages over the Internet.

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, Telegram, WeChat, and Microsoft Teams are a few popular IM apps and platforms intended for personal and professional use. These apps go beyond MMS and RCS and offer advanced features, such as voice calling, video calling, voice notes, group chats, and much more.
Instant messaging apps have brought the world closer than ever before. They are great contributors to the decline of traditional text messaging and have marked a significant milestone in the future of digital communication.

2021: AI Integration

The next breakthrough in the evolution of SMS messaging is the integration of artificial intelligence. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are common examples of the integration of AI and texting.
These entities are highly responsive, offering quick responses to user queries. Besides texting, they are useful in providing information, answering FAQs, simulating human conversations, and much more. They leverage natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to understand text-based conversations and provide personalized, human-like interactions.

Is SMS Still Relevant?

Yes! SMS is still relevant today.

It is the fundamental feature available on every mobile phone supported by all mobile carriers. Around 75% of millennials prefer SMS messaging over voice calls. Even Gen Zs and older generations use it for communication, while businesses have widely adopted it for SMS marketing.

The following are some significant reasons that states why SMS is still relevant in today’s digital world:
Secure: SMS or text messages are more secure than emails and any other forms of digital communication. The reason is that messages are stored on a recipient’s mobile device. Plus, SMS does not require users’ personal details.
Instant Delivery: SMS messages are delivered instantly and do not take several minutes or hours to be delivered, unlike emails. They have high delivery rates.
Universally Compatible: All mobile devices, irrespective of brands and operations systems, and all mobile networks support the transmission of SMS messages.
High Open and Response Rates: According to the PWC report, SMS marketing campaigns have around 95% open rates and 45% response rates, which are higher than other channels, like emails. This implies SMS messages have high open and response rates.
No Internet Connection: Transmitting SMS does not require an Internet connection. Hence, SMS messages can be received even in areas with poor network connectivity.
Cost-Effective: For marketing campaigns, SMS is among the most cost-effective channels. It is ideal for all sizes of businesses.

Lead Manager Ninja and SMS Marketing

As already discussed, text messages have higher open and response rates than other communication channels. Plus, it is the cost-effective method for marketing campaigns. As a result, small and medium-sized businesses with limited budgets heavily rely on SMS for communication and marketing.
However, in addition to SMS marketing, many organizations leverage email marketing and social media marketing. As a result, they use different communication channels. This increases the hassle of managing multiple apps and platforms.
Lead Manager Ninja is a solution that unifies all communication channels in one place and provides a single inbox. It does not require switching between different communication apps to track messages.
Being a native, premiere Salesforce SMS app, Lead Manager Ninja is a game-changing Salesforce communication app developed by Ksolves to enhance business communication and increase sales. It delivers a seamless business communication experience through SMS, MMS, WhatsApp, chatbot, FB Messenger, Instagram, and email.
Whether you go for SMS marketing or email marketing, you can quickly respond to SMS messages or emails from your mobile phone. This improves responsiveness and ensures real-time communication.


SMS messaging has come a long way. In the beginning in the 1980s, it was a simple and convenient way of communicating, without requiring both parties to be available for a live conversation. Over time, the capabilities of SMS messaging improved with the integration of new technologies. From basic text messaging to sending personalized and customized messages, SMS messaging has significantly undergone a breakthrough transformation.

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