Mobile phone texting, or SMS messaging as it is more formally known, was first used in December 1992. Neil Papworth, a Sema Group engineer used a personal computer to send the text message “Merry Christmas” via the Vodafone network to the phone of Richard Jarvis (source: Wikipedia).

Widespread European use began around 1999, with near-universal use around 2003. The main promoter of early SMS in Europe was the cost difference between SMS and voice.

Widespread US use began around 2004, with near-universal use around 2006. In the US, the cost of mobile voice was considerably lower, reducing the attraction of SMS. In addition, technological impediments existed: the CDMA and TDMA standards in use by Verizon and AT&T had to adapt SMS from the GSM standard already being rolled out in Europe. This delay cascaded into later network capability and handset capability.--David Ferris, with thanks to Wikipedia and David Gross

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