It was once at the cutting edge of technology – but now the SMS text message is turning 25 and facing an uncertain future.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Short Message Service (SMS).

On December 3, 1992, British software engineer Neil Papworth sent the world's first ever text. It went to a fellow executive at Vodafone, simply saying "Merry Christmas".

LOL: Ironically the recipient could not respond to the message.


Richard Jarvis, attending a Vodafone party near Newbury, Berkshire, could read the message (which had been sent from a computer) but he couldn't send a reply because his hulking, 2kg Orbitel 901 mobile phone was incapable of doing so.

Within a year Nokia had introduced the first handset supporting SMS – and the humble text message went on to revolutionise the way the world communicated.

However these days the technology has since been usurped by free messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Swinburne University's Belinda Barnet, who specialises in the history of technology, says no one could have expected how popular text messages would become.

"It was kind of an add-on to the cellular technology at the time and nobody expected it to become the main source of communication," the SMH reported.

"It changed the face of communication. Prior to SMS, to communicate with someone you at least had to answer the phone and talk to them or you had to be sitting at your desk and open an email."

And while the text message has been credited with helping bring people together the technology has also been used for the opposite.

Celebrities such as Katy Perry, Jennifer Aniston and Charlie Sheen were all given the bad news their relationships were over via text.