Short Message Services

Short message service, which is also known as SMS, are devices installed in most cell phones which allows the user to send out short messages to other cell phones. These messages are most commonly called text messages. While short message services are found mostly on cell phones, it may also be found on any handheld electronic device or even landline telephones. Short messages can also be used to obtain wallpapers, ringtones, or other digital products.

There is no one person or group who can take responsibility for the invention of short messaging services. Like many global communications tools, the creation of this technology has many inventors. Many organizations begin experimenting with short message services during the 1980s. While some inventors felt that short messaging should only be used as a way of informing users of incoming voice mail, others had plans which were more detailed. Billing fraud was a factor in the early days which prevented the technology from becoming mainstream.

Once this fraud was eliminated by using switch billing, the technology was able to expand. By 1992 the first short message was sent from a computer to a Vodafone. While short messaging was originally only available for the Global System of Mobile Communications, it has now become available on a variety of different networks. There are also many text messaging systems today which do not use SMS at all, but may use TCP/IP or SMTP. Short messaging service is divided into two basic categories, and these are Point to Point or Cell Broadcasts.

A short message service which is Point to Point is generally used to transfer messages between two individuals. A Cell Broadcast is used by the advertising industry to send out text messages to a large number of subscribers. These messages will typically be sent to all the users which live in a specific area. These messages go through the Short Message Service Center, which acts as the middle man and will attempt to contact the user. If a user is not available the SMSC will attempt to contact them at a later time.

The delivery of messages can be unreliable, and often will fail. One way to remedy this problem is by asking for a delivery report to make sure the message was successfully received by the recepient. Despite this, the system may not be accurate for informing the user if the message was not delivered. Messages sent to and from a handset are often supported. The transfer of these messages are sent using the SS7, which is a common part of the GSM system.

The length of the signal is about 140 bytes, and are compatible with a variety of languages including Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. Large signals are usually broken up and sent over a series of numerous messages. The phone which receives the message is then able to combine the segments together to display a completed message to the user. Though a maximum of 255 segments may be sent, the average number of segments is far less.

Ringtones and other binary objects may be sent via SMS. There are a number of companies which compete in this area, but the most well known is Nokia with its Smart Messaging System. Many services are also able to send short messages to landline phones by calling the number and reading the message using a voice synthesizer. Short message services have become popular for the information they send to subscribers.

Information such as news, finance, and ringtones are sent often. The users are charged for receiving this data, and the revenues are divided between the cell phone operator and the company delivering the information. Short message services are now being used in such things as vending machines, where users send out a short message to receive the product. The cost for this product is then added to their phone bill.

Short message websites are now offering to send text messages to customers when a product they want goes on sale. Other companies are allowing professionals to communicate by using an interface which allows their software to send out messages. The applications of SMS are numerous. This industry has exploded, and experts now estimate that at least 500 billion messages are being sent every year. Though the cost of sending these messages may only cost 10 cents, multiplied by billions of users this turns into more than 50 billion dollars per year.

While the cost of sending messages is low, the profits for the service providers is extremely high. 250 billion text messages were sent in the year 2001, and this averages to about 100 text messages for every individual on the planet. Short message services are very popular in Australia, Europe, and Asia. China in particular has a large market for SMS, with about 17 billion text messages being sent out in 2001 alone.

The popularity of short messaging can be linked to a variety of different factors. The low cost is probably the most important feature, as sending out messages in the past has been very expensive. It can also act as an alternative to making long distance phone calls, which can also be very costly. Another appeal of short message services is the speed with which information is sent.

Another important factor which has led to the success of short messaging is the rising use of cell phones. Before cell phones became mainstream, short messaging could not become popular. Landline phones didn't have the digital characteristics necessary to promote the use of short messages. Once cell phones penetrated over 90% of the market, short messaging services begin their rise in popularity. The number of people using these services are expected to increase, and the market is expected to grow. Though short messaging services are used in the United States, they are primarily used in Asia and Europe.

Japan and other Asian countries tend to be slightly ahead of American companies when it comes to designing cell phones. Because of this it is natural that Asian countries would have a larger percentage of people who use text messaging services.