Wednesday, March 7, 2007



SMS or short messaging service is a familiar word to so many. It is basically seen as a means of sending text messages through a mobile device to another mobile device. SMS, due to its utter simplicity, is a huge success for the mobile ecosystem. According to a recent metric, there were about 28 million text messages sent in a three (3) month period in America alone.

First introduced in Europe in 1992, it was included in the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) standard from the word go and later ported to CDMA and TDMA. Think Starcomms for CDMA. The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is presently responsible for developing and maintaining the GSM and SMS standard, the initial overseer being the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

SMS’ limitation is that it can contain at most 160 characters or 140 bytes of data (2 1/3 lines of text strings without spaces on Microsoft Word document! ). You can bet it supports international languages, even chinese characters. And SMS is not limited to texting, but can also carry pictures, operator logos, wallpapers, animations, business cards (Vcards).

There is no cellphone on earth that does not support SMS!

To solve the character limit problem, long SMS or concatenated SMS was developed. In long SMS, the sending mobile device breaks up the complete message into 140 bytes blocks and sends each block separately and if the receiving phone supports long SMS, for sure, it’ll be rearranged at the receiving end into a unified message. That means not every mobile device understands long SMS.

Our all expressive smileys are not left out in SMS with the introduction of an application-level SMS extension known as Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS). An EMS can include animation and melodies and you can bet it, you can format your text as bold, italic, underlined, or even indented text.

Why SMS? It’s a huge revenue generating platform for the entrepreneurially inclined. These will be broached in future blogs after basic GSM and mobile marketing concepts are slowly explained.

Further reading?
You can get specifications for technologies like SMS and MMS that we’ll discuss on this blog. The OMA are implementation specific in contrast to 3GPP specs.

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