SMS turns 20 years today!

SMS turns 20 years today!

The first time I got to try SMS was sometime in 1996 and I did not know the first time it was established was way back in 1984.

At that time, it was still a test. It took about 8 years more before it became a standard and the very first commercial SMS was sent out in 1992.

Engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS to an Orbitel 901 handset via Vodafone UK’s network in 1992: “Merry Christmas.


Here in the Philippines, Islacom first offered commercial GSM service in February 1994 while Smart was first established in 1991 by Orlando Vea (now President/CEO of Sun Cellular after PLDT bought Digitel) and started commercial service in December 1993.

Filipinos send over a billion SMS each month, contributing to an annual 7 trillion SMS sent out globally each year.

Anybody remembered their first cellphone and SMS in the 90s?

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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37 Responses

  1. Marco says:

    my first phone was Nokia 5110, I don’t remember my first SMS anymore though :D

  2. La+ says:

    “sount out globally each year.”

  3. Asus_Fan says:

    First CP was a brightly colored Bosch one-liner given to me by my ex, first SMS was a Thank you to her for giving me that beauty. I’m the first among my classmates to have a cellphone way back in 1999… =]

  4. steelicon says:

    Globe Handyphone Nokia 5110. Way back, ka text ko yung magagandang Globe Telecom operators in UN Avenue, LOL! =))

  5. Mighty Modyakhoz says:

    my first phone was a nokia 5110.. can’t remember the first message

  6. Alex Castillo says:

    it was nokia, i remember doing sms by calling their hotline, just like a pager. :-D

  7. Cindy says:

    after twenty years of greed, excessive profit, nakaw load etc ay piso pa rin ang text.
    sabi ni dating presidente GMA ay 0.50 na lang ang text. Mali, piso pa din.
    sabi ng NTC ay 0.80 na lang ang text, ayaw pa rin ng telco.

    palagi nilang ipinagmamalaking bilyon bilyon ang kinikita nila buwan buwan. pero ayaw pa rin nilang magbaba ng presyo ng text. hindi ba Greed yun?

    • wildecox says:

      Telecom is a business.

      Business = profits

    • johngo says:

      Matagal ng HINDI PISO ang TEXT depende sa usage mo:
      SMART Alltext 10 = 20 On-net SMS + 10 all-net + P1 load
      SMART Alltext 20 = 100 On-net SMS + 10 all-net + P1 load
      GLOBE Unlitext20 = UnliSMS to Globe/TM
      Sun Combo 10 = 40 SMS Sun to Sun; 10 SMS All Networks + 10 minute of calls.

      PISO pa rin ba?

    • johngo says:

      By the way, when Sun Cellular started last 2004, .50 centavos/per text Sun to Sun na sila.

    • Cindy says:

      Business => Profit. That’s good Business.
      Business => Excessive Profit. Sign of greed.

      Piso pa rin po ang text kahit same network kapag hindi ka nakaenroll sa promo nila.

      What jonghco mentioned expires in one day. Thus if you do not need to send a lot of text, you can end up paying more than Piso per text.
      Kung mas mura pa sa piso ang text dahil sa mga promos, eh bakit hindi nila ibaba sa 80cents or 50cents ang text sa mga hindi nakaenroll? Kaya naman pala nila (meaning, tubo pa rin sila ng malaki).
      The promos amount to P300 to P600/month per promo you avail which is a lot of money for many people.

      Ang point dito ay yung excessive profit. (and probably lack of competition). Matagal nang nabawi ang investments sa mga cellsites.

    • pabs says:

      [email protected] cindy, when I had my first text enabled phone from GLobe, an Ericcsson unit, with one liner screen,( it was a beautiful phone with interchangeable colored cover, I dont remember the model anymore) text was FREE, It was FREE then . Sa globe noon ang minimum load ay 250 so habang di pa nauubos ang load mo ay may libreng text ka. that was in 1998 or 1999.

    • johngo says:

      Very capital intensive ang Telecommunications company.

      For example SMART alone has 8,000 cellsites para may signal ka kahit saan.
      Para hindi choppy ang call mo.
      Para hindi congested ang text, capacity upgrade.

      Hindi naman local nabibili yung equipment, kailangan mong bumili sa best foreign telco eqpt. provider (e.g. Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens, Huawei, ZTE)

      RENT sa location (if rented) = COST

      Upgrade to 3G yung site (kasi gusto mo mabilis = COST)
      Upgrade to 4G yung site = COST

      Aside sa cellsite, kailangan mong i-maintain yung MALAKING NETWORK na CONNECTED with EACH OTHER na dapat may REDUNDANCY para pag nasira, gumagana pa din.


      When you load 100 pesos, marami pang makikihati doon.
      DEALER 2.5% (Kung saan kumukuha si subdealer ng LOAD)
      SUBDEALER ???% (Kung saan kumukuha si retailer ng LOAD)
      RETAILER 10% (Tindahan kung saan ka nagpapaload)

      Kung gusto mong LIBRE ang TEXT, magtayo ka ng NETWORK MO or sumulat ka na lang!

  8. alvin says:

    my first phone was nokia 3310, first yr hs ata ako nun. i used to put it on level 5 volume and naka special pa.

  9. kimkae77 says:

    mine was motorola L series , three liner na yun..yung maganda hawakan parang sabon na S…..rd ang shape.

  10. amdg says:

    my first GSM phone was the Nokia 8110i back in 1998. i could still remember selling my desktop PC at 30k to buy the phone. i originally wanted the Nokia Communicator but if i did i would not have extra cash for shopping. hehe. i remember buying it from Semicon coz there was no grey market that time where i lived. i could recall the two phones displayed in Semicon and really pondering heavily which one to get. thankfully i those the 8110i coz it was featured in The Matrix movie the following year.

  11. itachi1 says:

    This late bloomer had a Nokia 3310 back in 2000 XD

  12. Lori says:

    mine was Maxon (I forgot the model)

  13. IANVARIVS says:

    My first Mobile phone is that ginormous Panasonic phone, with a retractable antenna X_X

    2 lines of texts, green backlight, weighs about 1 and a quarter pound…

    something like this one:

    Network: Globe

    I can still remember that the lowest denomination offered before was 250 PHP, with thick phone cards

  14. Zo says:

    first one was an analog.. if we still count that.. if we’re talking about GSM it was a big a– motorola that if you drop it on your foot you’re sure to have a dead nail lol.

    • Zo says:

      did quick research and i found them! i went through the Dynatac and then the Microtac. There you go. Talk about jurassic haha!

  15. Joseph Comendador says:

    NOKIA 1610

  16. Alfred says:

    Nokia 5510 “Hello World!” was my first sms message

  17. Jay says:

    My first cellphone was a Mitsubishi flip phone in 1997 (from Globe pa yun). Can’t remember my first SMS. That was a good phone. I think my dad has it stashed somewhere.

  18. Jay says:

    My second cellphone was a Nokia 6110. I remember shelling out 14,000 pesos in 1998! Ridiculous!

  19. nokia 5110 of course its from globe handyphone (sim cost dat tym is a thousand bucks)

  20. jonas says:

    mine was nokia 3310 because it’s smaller than the nokia 3210 and sim that time which is globe costs 700 pesos and there was a time where sun cellular provided free call for two weeks with the same network..but today sms has gone low due to the rise of mobile internet usage

  21. pabs says:

    My first cellphone was a motorola microtac in 1996 it was a analog phone by Piltel then, followed by a JBC analog from smart in 1997. When texting was first offered by Globe I switched to them with an ericcson unit, till now I’m still stuck with Globe since 1999 both postpaid and prepaid.

  22. 9evian6 says:

    unang phone ko Nokia 8110 (‘yung ginamit sa Matrix movie), nagulat ako, naka-receive ako ng message. Tapos, parang beeper, tatawag ka sa Globe, sila magpapadala ng message =)

  23. lewell says:

    i thought Globe was the first to offer GSM in PH?

  24. darryl says:

    nakalimutan ko yung unang phone na ginamit ko noong bata pa ako tapos ang phone ko noon ay may antena. tapos ang sim card noon ay islacom. I think it’s 2000 or 1998 yung una kong nasubukan magtxt.

  25. 'em says:

    Nokia 5510 with a Php900+ worth simcard :) Ang mahal ng simcard noon. Ngayon, 10Php, meron ka na hehehe

  26. junn says:

    mine is 2110 nokia

  27. ronnie says:

    mine was mitsubishi around 1993 where extelcom was i thought the only cellphone provider.

  28. paul e. says:

    my first cellphone was a nokia 636. couldn’t even send/receive sms ‘coz it was an analog phone.

    my first gsm phone was the nokia 2110. can’t remember what my 1st sms was, though.

  29. aceraffy says:

    My first cellphone was 3210, it cost 14,000PHP that time and it was damn expensive. i remember i puk my sim and boom, sim card costs 1000php that time. Lucky kids don’t have the trouble of buying sim cards now.

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