SMS (Short Message Service) is a text messaging service component of
most telephone, World Wide Web, and mobile device systems. It uses
standardized communication protocols to enable mobile devices to
exchange short text messages. An intermediary service can facilitate a
text-to-voice conversion to be sent to landlines.
SMS was the most
widely used data application, with an estimated 3.5 billion active
users, or about 80% of all mobile subscribers, at the end of 2010.
SMS, as used on modern devices, originated from radio telegraphy in
radio memo pagers that used standardized phone protocols. These were
defined in 1985 as part of the Global System for Mobile Communications
(GSM) series of standards. The protocols allowed users to send and
receive messages of up to 160 alpha-numeric characters to and from GSM
mobiles. Although most
SMS messages are mobile-to-mobile text
messages, support for the service has expanded to include other mobile
technologies, such as ANSI CDMA networks and Digital AMPS.
SMS is also employed in mobile marketing, a type of direct
marketing. According to one market research report, as of 2014, the
SMS messaging business was estimated to be worth over $100
billion, accounting for almost 50 percent of all the revenue generated
by mobile messaging.
1.1 Initial concept
1.2 Early development
1.3 Support in other architectures
1.4 Early implementations
Text messaging outside GSM
2 Technical details
2.2 Message size
2.3 Gateway providers
2.4 Interconnectivity with other networks
2.5 AT commands
2.6 Premium-rated short messages
2.7 Threaded SMS
2.8 Application-to-person (A2P) SMS
Satellite phone networks
2.12 Flash SMS
2.13 Silent SMS
3 See also
5 External links
SMS messages sent monthly in the
United States (in billions)
Adding text messaging functionality to mobile devices began in the
early 1980s. 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 ... should be available in the mobile system." This
plan included the exchange of text messages either directly between
mobile stations, or transmitted via message handling systems in use at
SMS concept was developed in the Franco-German
GSM cooperation in
Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert. The
optimized for telephony, since this was identified as its main
application. The key idea for
SMS was to use this telephone-optimized
system, and to transport messages on the signalling paths needed to
control the telephone traffic during periods when no signalling
traffic existed. In this way, unused resources in the system could be
used to transport messages at minimal cost. 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
Hillebrand argued that 160 characters was sufficient to express most
SMS could be implemented in every mobile station by updating its
software. Hence, a large base of SMS-capable terminals and networks
existed when people began to use SMS. A new network element
required was a specialized short message service centre, and
enhancements were required to the radio capacity and network transport
infrastructure to accommodate growing
SMS traffic.
The technical development of
SMS was a multinational collaboration
supporting the framework of standards bodies. Through these
organizations the technology was made freely available to the whole
The first proposal which initiated the development of
SMS was made by
a contribution of Germany and France into the
GSM group meeting in
February 1985 in Oslo. This proposal was further elaborated in GSM
subgroup WP1 Services (Chairman Martine Alvernhe, France Telecom)
based on a contribution from Germany. There were also initial
discussions in the subgroup WP3 network aspects chaired by Jan
Audestad (Telenor). The result was approved by the main
GSM group in a
June '85 document which was distributed to industry. The input
SMS had been prepared by
Friedhelm Hillebrand (Deutsche
Telekom) with contributions from Bernard Ghillebaert (France
Télécom). The definition that
Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard
Ghillebaert brought into
GSM called for the provision of a message
transmission service of alphanumeric messages to mobile users "with
acknowledgement capabilities". 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.
SMS was considered in the main
GSM group as a possible service for the
new digital cellular system. In
GSM document "Services and Facilities
to be provided in the
GSM System," both mobile-originated and
mobile-terminated short messages appear on the table of GSM
The discussions on the
GSM services were concluded in the
GSM 02.03 "TeleServices supported by a
Here a rudimentary description of the three services was given:
Short message Mobile Terminated (SMS-MT)/ Point-to-Point: the ability
of a network to transmit a Short Message to a mobile phone. The
message can be sent by phone or by a software application.
Short message Mobile Originated (SMS-MO)/ Point-to-Point: the ability
of a network to transmit a Short Message sent by a mobile phone. The
message can be sent to a phone or to a software application.
Short message Cell Broadcast.
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 technical standard known today was largely created by IDEG (later
WP4) as the two recommendations
GSM 03.40 (the two point-to-point
services merged) and
GSM 03.41 (cell broadcast).
WP4 created a Drafting Group Message Handling (DGMH), which was
responsible for the specification of SMS. Finn Trosby of Telenor
chaired the draft group through its first 3 years, in which the design
SMS was established. DGMH had five to eight participants, and Finn
Trosby mentions as major contributors Kevin Holley, Eija Altonen,
Didier Luizard and Alan Cox. The first action plan mentions for
the first time the Technical Specification 03.40 "Technical
Realisation of the Short Message Service". Responsible editor was Finn
Trosby. The first and very rudimentary draft of the technical
specification was completed in November 1987. However, drafts
useful for the manufacturers followed at a later stage in the period.
A comprehensive description of the work in this period is given
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. Besides the completion of the main specification GSM
03.40, the detailed protocol specifications on the system interfaces
also needed to be completed.
Support in other architectures
Mobile Application Part (MAP) of the SS7 protocol included support
for the transport of Short Messages through the Core Network from its
inception. MAP Phase 2 expanded support for
SMS by introducing a
separate operation code for Mobile Terminated Short Message
transport. Since Phase 2, there have been no changes to the Short
Message operation packages in MAP, although other operation packages
have been enhanced to support CAMEL
SMS control.
3GPP Releases 99 and 4 onwards, CAMEL Phase 3 introduced the
ability for the
Intelligent Network (IN) to control aspects of the
Mobile Originated Short Message Service, while CAMEL Phase 4, as
3GPP Release 5 and onwards, provides the IN with the ability
to control the Mobile Terminated service. CAMEL allows the gsmSCP
to block the submission (MO) or delivery (MT) of Short Messages, route
messages to destinations other than that specified by the user, and
perform real-time billing for the use of the service. Prior to
standardized CAMEL control of the Short Message Service, IN control
relied on switch vendor specific extensions to the Intelligent Network
Application Part (INAP) of SS7.
SMS message was sent over the
GSM network in
the United Kingdom on 3 December 1992, from
Neil Papworth of Sema
Group (now Mavenir Systems) using a personal computer to Richard
Vodafone using an Orbitel 901 handset. The text of the
message was "Merry Christmas."
The first commercial deployment of a short message service center
(SMSC) was by
Aldiscon part of
Logica (now part of Acision) with Telia
(now TeliaSonera) in Sweden in 1993, followed by Fleet Call (now
Nextel) in the US, Telenor in Norway and BT
Cellnet (now O2 UK) later in 1993. All first
SMS gateways were for network notifications sent to
mobile phones, usually to inform of voice mail messages.[citation
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
SMS text messages. According to Matti Makkonen, the
SMS text messages,
Nokia 2010, which was released in
January 1994, was the first mobile phone to support composing SMSes
Initial growth 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.
Initially, networks in the UK only allowed customers to send messages
to other users on the same network, limiting the usefulness of the
service. This restriction was lifted in 1999.
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 reached 35 per user per
month, and on Christmas Day 2006, over 205 million messages were
sent in the UK alone.
Text messaging outside GSM
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 alternative
implementations of the concept include J-Phone's SkyMail and NTT
Docomo's Short Mail, both in Japan. Email messaging from phones, as
popularized by NTT Docomo's i-mode and the RIM BlackBerry, also
typically uses standard mail protocols such as SMTP over
In 2010[update], 6.1 trillion (6.1 × 1012)
SMS text messages were
sent. This translates into an average of 193,000
SMS per second.
SMS has become a huge commercial industry, earning $114.6 billion
globally in 2010. The global average price for an
SMS message is
US$0.11, while mobile networks charge each other interconnect fees of
at least US$0.04 when connecting between different phone
In 2015, the actual cost of sending an
SMS in Australia was found to
be $0.00016 per SMS.
In 2014, Caktus Group developed the world's first SMS-based voter
registration system in Libya. So far, more than 1.5 million people
have registered using that system, providing Libyan voters with
unprecedented access to the democratic process.
SMS is still a growing market, traditional
SMS is becoming
increasingly challenged by
Internet Protocol-based messaging services
such as Apple Inc.'s iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber,
WeChat (in China) and Line (in Japan), available on smart phones with
data connections. It has been reported that over 97% of smart
phone owners use alternative messaging services at least once a
day. However, in the U.S. these Internet-based
services haven't caught on as much[timeframe?], and
SMS continues to
be highly popular there. One of the reasons is because the top three
American carriers have offered free
SMS with almost all phone bundles
since 2010, a stark contrast to Europe where
SMS costs have been
Enterprise SMS-messaging, also known as application-to-peer messaging
(A2P Messaging) or 2-way SMS, continue to grow steadily at a rate of
4% annually. Enterprise
SMS applications are primarily focused on
CRM and delivering highly targeted service messages such as
parcel-delivery alerts, real-time notification of credit/debit card
purchase confirmations to protect against fraud, and appointment
confirmations. Another primary source of growing A2P message volumes
is two-step verification (alternatively referred to as 2-factor
authentication) processes whereby users are delivered a one-time
SMS and then are asked to enter that passcode online in
order to verify their identity.
SMS enablement allows individuals to send a
SMS to a business phone
number (traditional landline) and receive a
SMS in return. Providing
customers with the ability to text to a phone number allows
organizations to offer new services that deliver value. Examples
include chat bots, and text enabled customer service and call
Main article: Short message service technical realisation (GSM)
The Short Message Service—Point to Point (SMS-PP)—was originally
GSM recommendation 03.40, which is now maintained in 3GPP
as TS 23.040.
GSM 03.41 (now
3GPP TS 23.041) defines the Short
Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB), which allows messages
(advertising, public information, etc.) to be broadcast to all mobile
users in a specified geographical area.
Messages are sent to a short message service center (SMSC), which
provides a "store and forward" mechanism. It attempts to send messages
to the SMSC's recipients. If a recipient is not reachable, the SMSC
queues the message for later retry. Some SMSCs also provide a
"forward and forget" option where transmission is tried only once.
Both mobile terminated (MT, for messages sent to a mobile handset) and
mobile originating (MO, for those sent from the mobile handset)
operations are supported. Message delivery is "best effort," so there
are no guarantees that a message will actually be delivered to its
recipient, but delay or complete loss of a message is uncommon,
typically affecting less than 5 percent of messages. Some
providers allow users to request delivery reports, either via the SMS
settings of most modern phones, or by prefixing each message with *0#
or *N#. However, the exact meaning of confirmations varies from
reaching the network, to being queued for sending, to being sent, to
receiving a confirmation of receipt from the target device, and users
are often not informed of the specific type of success being
SMS is a stateless communication protocol in which every
is considered entirely independent of other messages. Enterprise
SMS as a communication channel for stateful
dialogue (where an MO reply message is paired to a specific MT
message) requires that session management be maintained external to
the protocol.
Transmission of short messages between the SMSC and the handset is
done whenever using the
Mobile Application Part (MAP) of the SS7
protocol. Messages are sent with the MAP MO- and MT-ForwardSM
operations, whose payload length is limited by the constraints of the
signaling protocol to precisely 140 bytes (140 bytes * 8 bits / byte =
1120 bits). Short messages can be encoded using a variety of
alphabets: the default
GSM 7-bit alphabet, the 8-bit data alphabet,
and the 16-bit
UCS-2 alphabet. Depending on which alphabet the
subscriber has configured in the handset, this leads to the maximum
individual short message sizes of 160 7-bit characters, 140 8-bit
characters, or 70 16-bit characters.
GSM 7-bit alphabet support is
GSM handsets and network elements, but characters in
languages such as Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or
Cyrillic alphabet languages (e.g., Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian,
Bulgarian, etc.) must be encoded using the 16-bit
encoding (see Unicode).
Routing data and other metadata is additional
to the payload size.
Larger content (concatenated SMS, multipart or segmented SMS, or "long
SMS") can be sent using multiple messages, in which case each message
will start with a
User Data Header (UDH) containing segmentation
information. Since UDH is part of the payload, the number of available
characters per segment is lower: 153 for 7-bit encoding, 134 for 8-bit
encoding and 67 for 16-bit encoding. The receiving handset is then
responsible for reassembling the message and presenting it to the user
as one long message. While the standard theoretically permits up to
255 segments, 6 to 8 segment messages are the practical
maximum, and long messages are often billed as
equivalent to multiple
SMS messages. Some providers have offered
length-oriented pricing schemes for messages, although that type of
pricing structure is rapidly disappearing.
SMS gateway providers facilitate
SMS traffic between businesses and
mobile subscribers, including
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 messaging
SMS gateway providers can be classified as aggregators or
SS7 providers.
The aggregator model is based on multiple agreements with mobile
carriers to exchange two-way
SMS traffic into and out of the
operator's SMSC, also known as local termination model. Aggregators
lack direct access into the SS7 protocol, which is the protocol where
SMS messages are exchanged.
SMS messages are delivered to the
operator's SMSC, but not the subscriber's handset; the SMSC takes care
of further handling of the message through the SS7 network.[citation
Another type of
SMS gateway provider is based on SS7 connectivity to
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
SMS routing. This means
SMS messages can be sent
directly to and from recipients without having to go through the SMSCs
of other mobile operators. Therefore, it is possible to avoid delays
and message losses, offering full delivery guarantees of messages and
optimized routing. This model is particularly efficient when used in
mission-critical messaging and
SMS used in corporate communications.
SMS gateway providers are providing branded SMS
services with masking but after misuse of these gateways most
countries's Governments have taken serious steps to block these
Interconnectivity with other networks
Message Service Centers communicate with the Public Land Mobile
Network (PLMN) or PSTN via Interworking and Gateway MSCs.[citation
Subscriber-originated messages are transported from a handset to a
service center, and may be destined for mobile users, subscribers on a
fixed network, or Value-Added Service Providers (VASPs), also known as
application-terminated. Subscriber-terminated messages are transported
from the service center to the destination handset, and may originate
from mobile users, from fixed network subscribers, or from other
sources such as VASPs.
On some carriers nonsubscribers can send messages to a subscriber's
phone using an Email-to-
SMS gateway. Additionally, many carriers,
including AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, Sprint, and Verizon
Wireless, offer the ability to do this through their respective
web sites.
For example, an AT&T subscriber whose phone number was
555-555-5555 would receive e-mails addressed to email@example.com
as text messages. Subscribers can easily reply to these
SMS reply is sent back to the original email address. Sending
SMS is free for the sender, but the recipient is subject to
the standard delivery charges. Only the first 160 characters of an
email message can be delivered to a phone, and only 160 characters can
be sent from a phone. However, longer messages may be broken up into
multiple texts, depending upon the telephone service provider.
Text-enabled fixed-line handsets are required to receive messages in
text format. However, messages can be delivered to nonenabled phones
using text-to-speech conversion.
Short messages can send binary content such as ringtones or logos, as
Over-the-air programming (OTA) or configuration data. Such
uses are a vendor-specific extension of the
GSM specification and
there are multiple competing standards, although Nokia's Smart
Messaging is common. An alternative way for sending such binary
content is EMS messaging, which is standardized and not dependent on
SMS is used for M2M (Machine to Machine) communication. For instance,
there is an LED display machine controlled by SMS, and some vehicle
tracking companies use
SMS for their data transport or telemetry
SMS usage for these purposes is slowly being superseded by GPRS
services owing to their lower overall cost. GPRS is
offered by smaller telco players as a route of sending
SMS text to
reduce the cost of
SMS texting internationally.
Many mobile and satellite transceiver units support the sending and
SMS using an extended version of the Hayes command set, a
specific command language originally developed for the Hayes
Smartmodem 300-baud modem in 1977.
The connection between the terminal equipment and the transceiver can
be realized with a serial cable (e.g., USB), a
Bluetooth link, an
infrared link, etc. Common AT commands include AT+CMGS (send message),
AT+CMSS (send message from storage), AT+CMGL (list messages) and
AT+CMGR (read message).
However, not all modern devices support receiving of messages if the
message storage (for instance the device's internal memory) is not
accessible using AT commands.
Premium-rated short messages
See also: Reverse
SMS billing, Mobile search, and Short code
Short messages may be used normally to provide premium rate services
to subscribers of a telephone network.
Mobile-terminated short messages can be used to deliver digital
content such as news alerts, financial information, logos, and ring
tones. The first premium-rate media content delivered via the SMS
system was the world's first paid downloadable ringing tones, as
commercially launched by Saunalahti (later Jippii Group, now part of
Elisa Grous), in 1998. Initially, only
Nokia branded phones could
handle them. By 2002 the ringtone business globally had exceeded $1
billion of service revenues, and nearly US$5 billion by 2008.[citation
needed] Today, they are also used to pay smaller payments online—for
example, for file-sharing services, in mobile application stores, or
VIP section entrance. Outside the online world, one can buy a bus
ticket or beverages from ATM, pay a parking ticket, order a store
catalog or some goods (e.g., discount movie DVDs), make a donation to
charity, and much more.
Premium-rated messages are also used in Donors Message Service to
collect money for charities and foundations. DMS was first launched at
April 1, 2004, and is very popular in the Czech Republic.[citation
needed] For example, the Czech people sent over 1.5 million messages
to help South Asia recover from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and
Value-added service provider (VASP) providing the content submits
the message to the mobile operator's SMSC(s) using an TCP/IP protocol
such as the short message peer-to-peer protocol (SMPP) or the External
Machine Interface (EMI). The SMSC delivers the text using the normal
Mobile Terminated delivery procedure. The subscribers are charged
extra for receiving this premium content; the revenue is typically
divided between the mobile network operator and the VASP either
through revenue share or a fixed transport fee. Submission to the SMSC
is usually handled by a third party.
Mobile-originated short messages may also be used in a premium-rated
manner for services such as televoting. In this case, the VASP
providing the service obtains a short code from the telephone network
operator, and subscribers send texts to that number. The payouts to
the carriers vary by carrier; percentages paid are greatest on the
SMS services. Most information providers should
expect to pay about 45 percent of the cost of the premium
SMS up front
to the carrier. The submission of the text to the SMSC is identical to
a standard MO Short Message submission, but once the text is at the
SMSC, the Service Center (SC) identifies the Short Code as a premium
service. The SC will then direct the content of the text message to
the VASP, typically using an IP protocol such as SMPP or EMI.
Subscribers are charged a premium for the sending of such messages,
with the revenue typically shared between the network operator and the
VASP. Short codes only work within one country, they are not
An alternative to inbound
SMS is based on long numbers (international
number format, such as "+44 762 480 5000"), which can be used in place
of short codes for
SMS reception in several applications, such as TV
voting, product promotions and campaigns.
Long numbers work
internationally, allow businesses to use their own numbers, rather
than short codes, which are usually shared across many brands.
Additionally, long numbers are nonpremium inbound numbers.[citation
SMS is a visual styling orientation of
SMS message history
that arranges messages to and from a contact in chronological order on
a single screen. It was first invented by a developer working to
SMS client for the BlackBerry, who was looking to make
use of the blank screen left below the message on a device with a
larger screen capable of displaying far more than the usual 160
characters, and was inspired by threaded Reply conversations in
email. Visually, this style of representation provides a
back-and-forth chat-like history for each individual contact.
Hierarchical-threading at the conversation-level (as typical in blogs
and on-line messaging boards)is not widely supported by
clients. This limitation is due to the fact that there is no session
identifier or subject-line passed back and forth between sent and
received messages in the header data (as specified by
from which the client device can properly thread an incoming message
to a specific dialogue, or even to a specific message within a
dialogue. Most smart phone text-messaging-clients are able to create
some contextual threading of "group messages" which narrows the
context of the thread around the common interests shared by group
members. On the other hand, advanced enterprise messaging applications
which push messages from a remote server often display a dynamically
changing reply number (multiple numbers used by the same sender),
which is used along with the sender's phone number to create
session-tracking capabilities analogous to the functionality that
cookies provide for web-browsing. As one pervasive
example, this technique is used to extend the functionality of many
Instant Messenger (IM) applications such that they are able to
communicate over two-way dialogues with the much larger SMS
user-base. In cases where multiple reply numbers are used by the
enterprise server to maintain the dialogue, the visual conversation
threading on the client may be separated into multiple
Application-to-person (A2P) SMS
SMS reached its popularity as a person-to-person messaging,
another type of
SMS is growing fast: application-to-person (A2P)
messaging. A2P is a type of
SMS sent from a subscriber to an
application or sent from an application to a subscriber. It is
commonly used by financial institutions, airlines, hotel booking
sites, social networks, and other organizations sending
SMS from their
systems to their customers.
In the USA, A2P messages must be sent using a short code rather than a
standard long code.
Satellite phone networks
All commercial satellite phone networks except
ACeS and OptusSat
support SMS. While early Iridium handsets only
support incoming SMS, later models can also send messages. The price
per message varies for different networks. Unlike some mobile phone
networks, there is no extra charge for sending international
SMS or to
send one to a different satellite phone network.
SMS can sometimes be
sent from areas where the signal is too poor to make a voice call.
Satellite phone networks usually have web-based or email-based SMS
portals where one can send free
SMS to phones on that particular
Unlike dedicated texting systems like the Simple Network Paging
Protocol and Motorola's ReFLEX protocol,
SMS message delivery is
not guaranteed, and many implementations provide no mechanism through
which a sender can determine whether an
SMS message has been delivered
in a timely manner.
SMS messages are generally treated as
lower-priority traffic than voice, and various studies have shown that
around 1% to 5% of messages are lost entirely, even during normal
operation conditions, and others may not be delivered until long
after their relevance has passed. The use of
SMS as an emergency
notification service in particular has been questioned.
Mobile security § Attack based on
SMS & MMS
The Global Service for Mobile communications (GSM), with the greatest
worldwide number of users, succumbs to several security
vulnerabilities. In the GSM, only the airway traffic between the
Mobile Station (MS) and the Base
Transceiver Station (BTS) is
optionally encrypted with a weak and broken stream cipher (
A5/2). The authentication is unilateral and also vulnerable. There are
also many other security vulnerabilities and shortcomings. Such
vulnerabilities are inherent to
SMS as one of the superior and
well-tried services with a global availability in the
SMS messaging has some extra security vulnerabilities due to its
store-and-forward feature, and the problem of fake
SMS that can be
conducted via the Internet. When a user is roaming,
SMS content passes
through different networks, perhaps including the Internet, and is
exposed to various vulnerabilities and attacks. Another concern arises
when an adversary gets access to a phone and reads the previous
In October 2005, researchers from Pennsylvania State University
published an analysis of vulnerabilities in SMS-capable cellular
networks. The researchers speculated that attackers might exploit the
open functionality of these networks to disrupt them or cause them to
fail, possibly on a nationwide scale.
GSM industry has identified a number of potential fraud attacks on
mobile operators that can be delivered via abuse of
services. The most serious threat is
SMS Spoofing, which occurs when a
fraudster manipulates address information in order to impersonate a
user that has roamed onto a foreign network and is submitting messages
to the home network. Frequently, these messages are addressed to
destinations outside the home network—with the home SMSC essentially
being "hijacked" to send messages into other networks.[citation
The only sure way of detecting and blocking spoofed messages is to
screen incoming mobile-originated messages to verify that the sender
is a valid subscriber and that the message is coming from a valid and
correct location. This can be implemented by adding an intelligent
routing function to the network that can query originating subscriber
details from the home location register (HLR) before the message is
submitted for delivery. This kind of intelligent routing function is
beyond the capabilities of legacy messaging infrastructure.
In an effort to limit telemarketers who had taken to bombarding users
with hordes of unsolicited messages, India introduced new regulations
in September 2011, including a cap of 3,000
SMS messages per
subscriber per month, or an average of 100 per subscriber per day.
Due to representations received from some of the service providers and
consumers, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has raised
this limit to 200
SMS messages per SIM per day in case of prepaid
services, and up to 6,000
SMS messages per SIM per month in case of
postpaid services with effect from 1 November 2011. However, it
was ruled unconstitutional by the Delhi high court, but there are some
SMS is a type of
SMS that appears directly on the main screen
without user interaction and is not automatically stored in the
inbox. It can be useful in emergencies, such as a fire alarm or
cases of confidentiality, as in delivering one-time passwords.
In Germany in 2010 almost half a million "silent SMS" messages were
sent by the federal police, customs and the secret service
"Verfassungsschutz" (offices for protection of the constitution).
These silent messages, also known as "silent TMS", "stealth SMS",
"stealth ping" or "Short Message Type 0", are used to locate a
person and thus to create a complete movement profile. They do not
show up on a display, nor trigger any acoustical signal when received.
Their primary purpose was to deliver special services of the network
operator to any cell phone. The mobile provider, often at the behest
of the police, will capture data such as subscriber identification
Process Driven Messaging Service
Comparison of mobile phone standards
Short Message Service Center (SMSC)
Short message service technical realisation (GSM)
SMS gateway (sending text to or from devices other than phones)
SMS home routing
Multimedia Messaging Service
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
Extended Messaging Service
Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS)
^ a b Ahonen, Tomi T. (January 13, 2011). "Time to Confirm Some Mobile
User Numbers: SMS, MMS, Mobile Internet, M-News". Communities Dominate
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^ Kelly, Heather (December 3, 2012). "OMG, The Text Message Turns 20.
SMS peaked?". CNN.
^ a b
GSM Doc 28/85 "Services and Facilities to be provided in the GSM
System" rev2, June 1985
^ "When First
SMS Was Sent". Play GK Quiz. Retrieved 27 November
^ Black, Ken (September 13, 2016). "What is
SMS Marketing?". wiseGEEK.
Retrieved September 28, 2016.
^ Portio Research. "Mobile Messaging Futures 2014-20148". Archived
from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
GSM document 02/82 available the
^ These Message Handling
Systems had been standardized in the ITU, see
specifications X.400 series
^ See the book Hillebrand, Trosby, Holley, Harris:
SMS the creation of
Personal Global Text Messaging, Wiley 2010
^ "Technology". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
GSM document 28/85rev.2 June 85 and
GSM WP1 document 66/86
available in the
^ See also
Friedhelm Hillebrand "
GSM and UMTS, the creation of Global
Mobile Communication", Wiley 2002, chapters 10 and 16,
GSM document 19/85, available in the
GSM document 28/85r2, available in the
^ "So who really did create SMS?". Stephen Temple. Retrieved 6 April
GSM TS 02.03, Teleservices Supported by a
GSM Public Land Mobile
GSM IDEG 79/87r3, available in the
GSM 03.40, WP4 document 152/87, available in the
^ Finn Trosby, "the strange duckling of
GSM SMS", Telektronikk Vol.3
^ MAP phase 1 specification, available from the
3GPP web site.
^ MAP phase 2 specification, available from the
3GPP web site.
^ CAMEL Phase 3 specification, available from the
3GPP web site.
^ CAMEL Phase 4 specification, also available from the 3GPP
^ a b Hppy bthdy txt! December 2002, BBC News.
^ UK hails 10th birthday of SMS, December 2002, The Times of India.
^ "First commercial deployment of Text Messaging (SMS)". Archived from
the original on March 16, 2008. Retrieved 2017-05-24. CS1 maint:
BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
^ US Department of Homeland Security. "Cellular Technologies" (PDF).
Electronic Frontier Foundation).
^ Nael, Merili (2015-06-30). "Suri tekstisõnumite looja Matti
Makkonen" [Creator of text messages
Matti Makkonen died].
uudised.err.ee (in Estonian). Eesti Rahvusringhääling. Retrieved
2015-07-27. External link in work= (help)
^ a b
GSM World press release Archived 2002-02-15 at the Wayback
^ Crystal, David (2008-07-05). "2b or not 2b?". Guardian Unlimited.
London, UK. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
^ "THE WORLD IN 2010 - The rise of 3G" (PDF).
^ Silver, Katie (December 7, 2011). "OMG:
Text messaging turns 19 this
week ... and this is the Brit we have to thank for our sore
thumbs". Daily Mail. London.
^ Han, Esther (6 May 2015). "Cheaper mobile calls and text as ACCC
moves to slash wholesale fees" – via The Age.
^ "Libya's Election Ushers in New Voter Tech - World Policy
Institute". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
^ "The death of
SMS is exaggerated".
^ Horwitz, Josh. "Why
WhatsApp bombed in the US, while Snapchat and
Kik blew up".
^ a b "A2P
SMS Market Expected to Reach USD 70.32 Billion, in 2020".
Transparency Market Research. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
GSM 03.40 Technical realization of the
Short Message Service
Short Message Service (SMS).
3GPP specification: 23.040". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
GSM 03.41, Technical Realization of
Short Message Service
Short Message Service Cell
3GPP specification: 23.041". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
^ Gil Held: "Data over Wireless Networks." pages 105–11, 137–38.
^ Amri, Kuross. "Communication Networks".
^ a b
3GPP TS 23.038, Alphabets and language-specific information.
^ Ian Groves: "Mobile Systems", page 70, 79, 163–66. Chapman &
^ "t-zones text messaging: send and receive messages with mobile text
messaging". T-mobile.com. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
^ "Support – How do I compose and send a text message to a Sprint or
Nextel customer from email?". Support.sprintpcs.com. Retrieved
^ "Answers to FAQs –
Verizon Wireless Support". Support.vzw.com.
^ "Is there a maximum
SMS message length?". TextAnywhere. Retrieved
May 8, 2017.
^ Prindle, Drew (December 31, 2016). "How to send email to SMS
(text)". Digital Trends. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
^ Leyden, John (January 2004). "BT trials mobile
SMS to voice
landline". The Register. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
^ Ewan (September 1, 2006). "10pText.co.uk help you text
internationally for 10p/text". SMStextnews. Archived from the original
on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
^ "Hayes AT command parameters for sending and receiving SMS
messages". Hayes AT Commands. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
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Extended Commands". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
^ [USPTO - https://www.google.com/patents/US7028263 US Patent 7028263
^ From Phone Scoop definitions - Threaded Messaging definition (Phone
Scoop) - Retrieved December 29, 2012
^ "Whitepaper: Market Opportunities for Text and MMS Messaging" ABI
^ "Long Code Vs Short Code – What's The Difference?". Retrieved 23
^ "Motorola's ReFLEX Protocol Delivers Wireless Data With Unparelleled
N…". 17 July 2012. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012.
^ "Report Says That
SMS is Not Ideal for
cellular-news. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
^ "Download Limit Exceeded". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
SMS Delivery Reliability Archived 2011-07-12 at the
^ "Report Says That
SMS is Not Ideal for
cellular-news. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
^ Solutions to the
GSM Security Weaknesses, Proceedings of the 2nd
IEEE International Conference on Next Generation Mobile Applications,
Services, and Technologies (NGMAST2008), pp.576–581, Cardiff, UK,
September 2008, arXiv:1002.3175
SMS – A Secure
SMS Messaging Protocol for the M-Payment Systems,
Proceedings of the 13th IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications
(ISCC'08), pp. 700–705, July 2008 arXiv:1002.3171
^ An Analysis of Vulnerabilities in SMS-Capable Cellular Networks:
Exploiting Open Functionality in SMS-Capable Cellular Networks
^ "An overview on how to stop
SMS Spoofing in mobile operator networks
(September 9, 2008)". Archived from the original on 2008-09-26.
Retrieved 2008-09-12. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown
^ Nirmala Ganapathy (September 27, 2011). "3,000
SMS a Month Limit in
India From Today". Straits Times Indonesia. Retrieved November 10,
^ "TRAI extends the 100
SMS per day per SIM limit to 200
SMS per day
per SIM" (PDF). Archived from the original on November 11, 2011.
Retrieved 2011-11-16. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown
Special Correspondent (2012-01-26). "News / National : TRAI cap
SMS goes". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
SMS types on routomessaging.com". Archived from the original on 5
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^ "Flash SMS". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
^ "Zoll, BKA und Verfassungsschutz verschickten 2010 über 440.000
"stille SMS" heise online". Heise.de. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
3GPP TS 51.010-1 version 12.5.0 Release 12" (PDF). ETSI. September
2015. pp. 3418–3423. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to SMS.
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