SMS gateway providers facilitate the SMS traffic between businesses and mobile subscribers, being mainly responsible for carrying mission-critical messages, SMS for enterprises, content delivery and entertainment services involving SMS, e.g. TV voting. Considering SMS messaging performance and cost, as well as the level of text messaging services, SMS gateway providers can be classified as aggregators or SS7 providers.
The aggregator model is based on multiple agreements with mobile carriers to exchange 2-way SMS traffic into and out of the operator’s SMS platform (Short Message Service Centre – SMS-C), also known as local termination model. Aggregators lack direct access into the SS7 protocol, which is the protocol where the SMS messages are exchanged. These providers have no visibility and control over the message delivery, being unable to offer delivery guarantees. SMS messages are delivered in the operator’s SMS-C, but not the subscriber’s handset.
Another type of SMS gateway provider is based on SS7 connectivity to route SMS messages, also known as international termination model. The advantage of this model is the ability to route data directly through SS7, which gives the provider total control and visibility of the complete path during the SMS routing. This means SMS messages can be sent directly to and from recipients without having to go through the SMS-Centres of other mobile operators. Therefore, it’s possible to avoid delays and message losses, offering full delivery guarantees of messages and optimised routing. This model is particularly efficient when used in mission-critical messaging and SMS used in corporate communications.
The University of Duisburg-Essen, in partnership with mobile messaging provider Tyntec, have developed the study for SMS messaging to enable the detailed monitoring of SMS transmissions to ensure a greater degree of reliability and a higher average speed of delivery. The new parameters can be used by mobile network operators, third party SMS gateways and mobile network infrastructure software vendors to monitor the transmission of SMS messages and to detect network transmission problems quickly and accurately.
Many companies have claimed to have sent the very first text message but according to a former employee of NASA Edwaed Lantz, the first was sent via one simple 1989 Motorola beeper in 1989 by Raina Fortini from NYC to Melbourne Beach Florida using upside down numbers that could be read as words and sounds. The first commercial SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1992, from Neil Papworth of Sema Group (using a personal computer) to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone (using an Orbitel 901 handset). The text of the message was "Merry Christmas". The first SMS typed on a GSM phone is claimed to have been sent by Riku Pihkonen, an engineer student at Nokia, in 1993.
Initial growth of text messaging was slow, with customers in 1995 sending on average only 0.4 messages per GSM customer per month. One factor in the slow takeup of SMS was that operators were slow to set up charging systems, especially for prepaid subscribers, and eliminate billing fraud which was possible by changing SMSC settings on individual handsets to use the SMSCs of other operators. Over time, this issue was eliminated by switch-billing instead of billing at the SMSC and by new features within SMSCs to allow blocking of foreign mobile users sending messages through it. By the end of 2000, the average number of messages per user reached 35.
The first web text messaging portal was invented in another English town called Doncaster by e2sms. Beta tested in 1996 and launched in 1997/1998 it offer two sms from mobile phones to email or via a web portal. It also offered the first commercial advertising service, sending 50,000 SMS's per month with servers in the UK, Chile and Switzerland. They initially used Vodaphones free -dialin- service but eventually hacked the orange gateway.
It is also alleged that the fact that roaming customers, in the early days, rarely received bills for their SMSs after holidays abroad had a boost on text messaging as an alternative to voice calls.
SMS was originally designed as part of GSM, but is now available on a wide range of networks, including 3G networks. However, not all text messaging systems use SMS, and some notable alternate implementations of the concept include J-Phone's "SkyMail" and NTT Docomo's "Short Mail", both in Japan. E-mail messaging from phones, as popularized by NTT Docomo's i-mode and the RIM BlackBerry, also typically use standard mail protocols such as SMTP over TCP/IP.
Today text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service on the planet, with 72% of all mobile phone users worldwide or 1.9 Billion out of 2.7 Billion phone subscribers at end of 2006 being active users of the Short Message Service (SMS). In countries like Finland, Sweden and Norway over 90% of the population use SMS. The European average is about 85% and North America is rapidly catching up with over 40% active users of SMS by end of 2006. The largest average usage of the service by mobile phone subscribers is in the Philippines with an average of 15 texts sent per day by subscriber. In Singapore the average is 12 and in South Korea 10.
Text messaging was reported to have addictive tendencies by the Global Messaging Survey by Nokia in 2001 and was confirmed to be addictive by the study at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 2004. Since then the study at the Queensland University of Australia has found that text messaging is the most addictive digital service on mobile or internet, and is equivalent in addictiveness to cigarette smoking. The text reception habit introduces a need to remain connected, called "Reachability".