Happy Birthday, SMS! On 3.12.22, the short message turned 30 years old. Since the end of the absolute heyday of SMS in 2012, messengers have taken on an ever greater role in private communication. Media keep predicting that SMS would vanish soon. And yet it’s still here. Still relevant. Still important! Let’s have a look at why private communication is not what has kept SMS alive for so long and what the real reasons are.
30 years of SMS – The story so far
Once upon a time… the first SMS in the world was sent. It was 12/03/1992 and the man who sent it was Neil Papworth. The content of the SMS?
Since then, the industry has evolved – slowly but surely – until it reached its peak in 2012. In our post on the 25th birthday of SMS, we already reported that the total sending of SMS in Germany has been falling since that record year in 2012.
The surprise: that changed last year.
In 2021, for the first time since 2012, more SMS were sent than in the previous year, probably not least because of the increased use of two-factor authentication via SMS and the sending of Corona test results via SMS. For more information on this, see our blog post: Why is the number of SMS increasing again? – An overview
For the A2P industry, by the way, the increase in the number of SMS sent is not at all new: the number has already been rising continuously for several years, and since the start of the Corona pandemic it has even been significantly higher than before.
It is no coincidence that the Corona pandemic led to a significant increase in the number of text messages sent.
Even though SMS are hardly used for private communication anymore compared to the 2010s, they have a decisive advantage over their messenger competitors: they can be used universally.
What do we mean by that?
SMS reach every cell phone, no matter how old it is, which operating system is running on it or which apps have been installed.
This means the threshold for successful use is extremely low. All you need is the mobile number of your recipients (and in many cases their consent, but that’s another topic) and you can reach them that way. No matter where they are, no matter if they are connected to the Internet.
What’s more, SMS are perceived as relevant and personal – and read very quickly. So they are also suitable for short-term information and are extremely rarely overlooked, especially compared to emails.
The role of SMS in times of crisis
It is therefore not surprising that SMS is chosen especially in times of crisis when quick solutions are needed to communicate with different groups of people.
With the help of flexible SMS gateways, the implementation can be done quickly, cleanly and securely, and with the thorough selection of the provider, it is also no problem to comply with the GDPR. If you don’t have any experience with SMS gateway providers yet, take a look at our post: What to look for when choosing a bulk SMS provider
SMS are, in a way, the lowest common denominator of modern communication. The reception is “oldschool” enough that most people can receive SMS without any additional measures taken, the connectivity options are modern enough for flexible implementation of different use cases and strategies.
In times of crisis, quick and simple solutions are in demand and that is exactly why SMS is often the first choice.
30 years of SMS – What’s next?
It is nice to be able to celebrate 30 years of SMS this year, despite all the dark predictions in the past. But what’s coming in the next few years? What about RCS? Will text messaging rise again in the coming years? Or will we see a decline in sending again in the coming years?
Of course, we can’t predict the future, but it remains likely that, at least in the A2P space, SMS sending will continue to increase. We see that customers continue to use SMS even after implementing short-term solutions during the crisis because they have such good experiences with it. Other standards are currently still far from being able to compete with the universality of SMS.
So it is likely that SMS will continue to be around for quite a while.
We are curious to see what awaits us – even if it will not be another 30 years of SMS 🙂