What is SMS
SMS represents a short message service, and it is one of the oldest and most popular text messaging services used on the most telephone, mobile devices, and Internet systems. It utilizes standardized communication protocols for enabling mobile devices to send and receive SMS text messages.
An intermediate service can also be used to send a text-to-voice conversion to landlines. The short message service was one of the most commonly used data applications in 2010, with approximately 3.5 billion users, or roughly 80 percent of all the mobile subscribers.
SMS text messages, as exchanged on modern devices, started from radio telegraphy in pagers that utilized standardized phone protocols. The protocols were first defined in 1985 and allowed users to exchange messages, comprising 160 characters, between two GSM mobiles. Although it is primarily used for the mobile-to-mobile transfer, the support for text message service has been developed to include other technologies, like Digital AMPS and ANSI CDMA networks.
SMS is also used in mobile marketing, which is a kind of direct marketing strategy. As per a market research report in 2014, the worldwide SMS messaging business was roughly worth more than $100 billion, which accounted for approximately 50 percent of the revenue earned by mobile messaging.
History of SMS Message
On 3rd December 1992, the first SMS was exchanged between Neil Papworth of Sema Group (Mavenir Systems) and Richard Jarvis over the Vodafone network in the UK. The text was “Merry Christmas”.
In 1993, a short message service center or SMSC was first commercially deployed by Aldiscon with Telia in Sweden. Later in 1993, Fleet Call in the US, BT Cellnet (now called O2) in the UK, and Telenor in Norway all decided to deploy short message service centers. All the first installations of short message service gateways were used for network notifications exchanged between mobile phones, typically to notify of voice mail messages.
Radiolinja, now a part of Elisa, is a Finnish company that first offered commercially sold SMS service to consumers that allowed person-to-person text messaging. Most of the early GSM mobile handsets could not be used for sending SMS text messages.
However, Nokia manufactured GSM handsets that allowed the users to send SMS text messages. Launched in January 1994, the Nokia 2010 was the first handset that gave its users the ability to compose SMS text messages quickly.
While the internet-based messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat are now increasingly challenging the growing market of SMS, it continues to be one of the most popular messaging services, especially in the US.
SMS Vs. MMS: Their Differences and Similarities
SMS or Short Message Service is one of the most widespread texting technologies that allows you to send text messages over mobile networks. MMS, on the other hand, represents the Multimedia Messaging Service.
The MMS was developed with the same technology as Short Message Service to allow the users to send and receive multimedia content. It is most commonly used for sending pictures, although you can use it to send phone contacts, videos, and audio files.
Since both the SMS and MMS are exchanged over a mobile network, they need a wireless plan from mobile service provider companies to get started. The standard text messages allow a user to send 160 characters. If it exceeds this limit, the message gets broken up into several segments, each containing 160 characters. The number of segments usually depends on the length of the SMS.
The carriers typically chain these messages together so that they get delivered in the correct sequence. MMS messages, unlike SMS, do not offer a standard limit. Their maximum size is decided by the cellular carrier and also depends on the device receiving the MMS. The largest size that most carriers can reliably handle is 300 KB.
SMS Vs. OTT Messaging Apps
SMS and OTT apps use different protocols for sending and receiving messages; each of them has different network and platform requirements. The OTT applications require internet connections for delivering messages, while SMS needs mobile network connections. You will need a smartphone to run an OTT app, which can be downloaded from an Android or iOS app store.
For sending and receiving texts using these “Over The Top” apps, you need to connect your device to the internet either via a mobile internet connection or over WiFi.
SMS, being a universal technology, is supported by every mobile device and network today. If you have the other person’s phone number, you can start sending and receiving SMS messages. This is the reason why companies and business organizations use SMS as the preferred medium of communication with customers.
It is more instantaneous than email and does not need any additional app downloads. People using OTT applications, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, cannot send text messages to those who are using another app like WeChat. For an exchange of messages to take place, the sender and receiver both should use the same app.
When it comes to sharing multimedia files, OTT applications have the upper hand over MMS because they allow you to send or receive much larger files. They also provide you with added features like audio as well as video calling, message broadcasting, and group messaging. And the most important advantage is that these OTT applications are free to use.
How to Stop Someone from Spying on your Text Messages
With the increase in commercial applications of text messages, smartphone spying is also becoming increasingly common in today’s era. Most people, however, do not take their phone’s security seriously. If you handle your online transactions using a compromised WiFi, you are at risk of becoming a victim of financial theft.
A hacker can also spy on your regular activities by hacking your smartphone’s webcam. A cyberstalker can sneak malware onto your cell phone to read your personal messages and track your GPS to find out your exact location. So, let us see how you can stop a hacker from spying on text messages or other useful information on your phone.
Use a Strong Password:
Setting up a strong, complex password for your phone is an essential step for keeping it secured. Although many users do not take this matter seriously, the right password not only ensures your phone’s security but also prevents spying tools from getting installed.
A spyware or malware is a malicious tool that cannot be easily detected and removed from your phone. Therefore, it is wise to install an anti-malware tool, which helps protect your device from malicious third-party applications. Since its database is regularly updated, it also provides protection from future spyware tools.
Use Encryption Tools:
Keep your phone’s storage encrypted, as it will prevent hackers from breaching your privacy and getting to your confidential data.
Install Security Applications:
These applications can be found on iOS and Android app stores. After installation, you will get instant notifications whenever a new app is downloaded.
A recent study found that nine of ten 16-25-year-old people now communicate with their family and friends on a regular basis using text messages, and the same activity is observed only in 15% of people who are more than 65-year-old.
However, text messages are now under threat from applications like WhatsApp and Viber, which give their users the same messaging service but over the internet, as well as from video calling and email over 3G and 4G mobile networks.
Surprisingly though, texts have now beaten the traditional ways of communicating with people, involving face to face meetings or phone calls. Text messaging has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we work and socialize.
Nevertheless, SMS volumes have now started weakening. With the availability of a large number of communication tools such as social networking and instant messaging platforms, people are now sending fewer SMS text messages. But one thing is for sure! They are now ‘texting’ with each other more than ever before.