The first action plan of the CEPT Group GSM was approved in December 1982, requesting that, "The services and facilities offered in the public switched telephone networks and public data networks ...
However, it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved to 160 seven-bit characters) so that the messages could fit into the existing signalling formats.
Based on his personal observations and on analysis of the typical lengths of postcard and Telex messages, Hillebrand argued that 160 characters was sufficient to express most messages succinctly.
The text of the message was "Merry Christmas." The first commercially sold SMS service was offered to consumers, as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in Finland in 1993.
Most early GSM mobile phone handsets did not support the ability to send SMS text messages, and Nokia was the only handset manufacturer whose total GSM phone line in 1993 supported user-sending of SMS text messages.
According to one market research report, as of 2014, the global SMS messaging business was estimated to be worth over $100 billion, accounting for almost 50 percent of all the revenue generated by mobile messaging.
Adding text messaging functionality to mobile devices began in the early 1980s.The last three words transformed SMS into something much more useful than the prevailing messaging paging that some in GSM might have had in mind.The material elaborated in GSM and its WP1 subgroup was handed over in Spring 1987 to a new GSM body called IDEG (the Implementation of Data and Telematic Services Experts Group), which had its kickoff in May 1987 under the chairmanship of Friedhelm Hillebrand (German Telecom).The first action plan mentions for the first time the Technical Specification 03.40 "Technical Realisation of the Short Message Service". The first and very rudimentary draft of the technical specification was completed in November 1987.The work on the draft specification continued in the following few years, where Kevin Holley of Cellnet (now Telefónica O2 UK) played a leading role.SMS, as used on modern devices, originated from radio telegraphy in radio memo pagers that used standardized phone protocols.