What is SMS and Why Your Business Needs a Text Messaging Service

3 mins
A woman looking at her mobile phone screen while sitting in front of her laptop on a desk, with parcel boxes all around her

Short message service, or SMS, is another term for text message, which is a form of communication where one user sends a message to another over a cellular telephone network. The history of the text message isn’t a very long one, with the idea of the text message first created by Matti Makkonen in 1984, followed by the first ever text message sent in the 20th century by software engineer, Neil Papworth, in 1992. At the very beginning, text messages were only ever capable of being sent between two people on the same network to a maximum of 160 characters in length. Now, almost 30 years later, text messages are one of the most popular ways to communicate with others on a global scale, with approximately 2.1 trillion SMS messages exchanged in 2020, an increase of 52 billion SMS messages since 2019.

SMS messages are not only seen as one of the most convenient ways to keep in touch with family and friends. As an easy and instant method of communication, many government and healthcare organizations around the world have embraced the use of SMS to alert the community and provide instant health updates on COVID-19. The pandemic has also forced the adoption of digital communications channels in business, such as SMS, due to the need for remote work environments and instant communications with staff, colleagues and customers.

If your business has yet to start utilizing SMS as part of your internal and external communications strategy, now is the time. We dive further into what is SMS, what the difference is between an SMS and an SMS and how to use SMS for business communications below.


What is SMS?

An SMS provides users with the ability to send a message to anyone around the world. No matter where you are, if you have a mobile phone device connected to a cellular network, you can send and receive SMS text messages. The key idea for SMS was to reduce the cost and time involved to send messages to others using an alternative method to existing communications methods including fax or physical mail delivery. SMS changed communications forever. Instead of having to wait weeks for a letter to arrive in the post, or spend hundreds of dollars on a physical fax machine, SMS provided individuals with a brand new way to communicate.

However, in order to do so, there were limitations on the size of an SMS. Originally, the message could only be a maximum of 140 bytes, or160 characters. If an SMS exceeds this length, it’s split into multiple segments of 160 characters each when it reaches the recipient. However, due to advancements in GSM technology, most mobile phone carriers today automatically chain these messages together to ensure that the recipient receives the message in the correct order.



What is the Difference Between SMS and MMS?

MMS stands for multimedia messaging service. Built using the same technology as SMS, MMS allows users to send SMS messages that contain media, such as pictures, audio, video and even share phone contacts with others. The main difference between an SMS and an SMS is that MMS messages allow for longer content lengths. Most mobile phone carriers support MMS messages of up to 300 KBs, whereas some newer MMS technology allow for messages of up to 600 KB.


SMS Text Messaging in Business Communications

There are many benefits of using SMS in your business. No matter the size of your business or the industry it resides in, SMS provides you with a way to effectively communicate across your entire organization.

The 2021 state of texting report found that scheduling and reminders (63%) were the top reason businesses use SMS, followed by customer service and support (44%), alerts (38%), internal communication (30%) and marketing and promotions (25%).

Implementing an SMS text messaging service in your business may include:


Notifyre: Your #1 SMS Solution for Business

Notifyre offers a powerful SMS text messaging solution to help your business take advantage of high open rates and instant communications across your entire organization. With popular SMS features including bulk SMSemail to SMS options, dedicated virtual SMS numbers2-way SMS messaging and SMS API integration available, it’s easier than ever to utilize SMS in your business. Try Notifyre today.

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