SMS Technology as a Standard of Communication

SMS (persistent. Short Message Service — short message service) — a technology that allows you to receive and transmit short text messages cell phone.

To date, it is included in the standards of cellular communication.

About SMS technology

  • SMS are usually delivered within a few seconds. The sender can receive a message delivery notification.
  • You can send a message to a phone that is off or out of range. As soon as the addressee appears on the network, he will receive a message. If the sender receives a delivery notification, it is possible to determine the time of occurrence in the network of the recipient.
  • You can send a message to a person who is currently engaged in a conversation.
  • With the advanced SMS option called EMS, you can send and receive ringtones, icons and more.
  • The peculiarity of the technology is that the transmission of SMS almost does not load the cellular network. SMS technology is supported by major cellular networks (GSM, NMT, D-AMPS, CDMA, UMTS).
  • Also, SMS to phones can be sent from the Internet and from other networks (paging, FidoNet, x.25, etc.) using special software programs or web platforms (for example SMS-Smart), universal SMS-forms, as well as directly SMS-gateways of mobile operators.


SMS was created as part of the GSM Phase 1 standard. For the first time, the idea of the service originated in 1984 and was then implemented by a group of engineers, among whom were: Friedhelm Hillebrand (Deutsche Bundespost), Bernard Gilbert (PTT), Finn Trosby (Telenor), Kevin Holly (Cellnet), Ian Harris (Vodafone) by 1989. For the first time, the short message system was tested in December 1992 in the UK to transmit text from a personal computer to a mobile phone in the GSM network of Vodafone, a year after the appearance of the GSM standard on the European market.

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) report, about 40 % of mobile phone users use SMS.

In Russia, Ukraine

Until 2002, the exchange of SMS messages between different operators was impossible.

Message length

Text can consist of alphanumeric characters. The maximum message size in the GSM standard is 140 bytes (1120 bits). Thus, if you use 7-bit encoding (Latin alphabet and numbers), you can send messages up to 160 characters long. If you use 8-bit encoding (German, French), you can send messages up to 140 characters long. 2-byte (16-bit) UTF-16 encoding is used to support other national alphabets (Chinese, Arabic, Russian, etc.). Thus, SMS written in Cyrillic cannot exceed 70 characters.

The standard also provides the ability to send segmented messages. In such messages, the user data header (UDH) contains information about the message segment number and the total number of segments. This feature is not supported by all phones, and those that support, often impose a limit on the number of segments in the message (3 or 5). A phone that does not support segmentation displays each segment as a separate message. As a rule, each segment is charged as a separate message.

In Russia and Ukraine, some subscribers of cellular networks prefer to write SMS in their native language using Latin letters (see: transliterated), which was originally due to the lack of support for Cyrillic phones. And with the widespread use of Russified phones — a habit, as well as the fact that in Latin you can write longer SMS (160 instead of 70 characters in Cyrillic) for the same money. For Example Ura! Ya napisal pro SMS v Wikipediu.

In English-speaking countries, abbreviations, omissions of vowels, as well as words and syllables with similar sounding numbers and letters are often used to save characters in SMS. For example, “C u l8r” successfully replaces “See you later”.

According to the GSM Association, the first SMS message was sent from a personal computer to a Vodafone phone in the UK in December 1992.

  • The structure of the SMS
  • Structure Length
  • message type 1 byte
  • a timestamp of the SMS center 7 bytes
  • the source address of the message is 12 bytes
  • Protocol ID 1 byte
  • 1-byte data encoding scheme
  • user data area length 1 byte
  • the text message is 140 bytes
  • a total of 163 bytes

SMS and mobile phones

Most modern mobile phones of all standards allow you to use SMS in full.
In order for the phone to be able to send SMS, you must specify the SMS center number (SMSC) of the mobile operator. In the vast majority of cases, this number is already recorded on the SIM card and you do not need to configure it manually.

Incoming SMS are stored in the list of incoming messages, where they can be viewed. Some phone models store this list on a SIM card and therefore have restrictions on the number of stored messages (several dozen). Modern models store a list of messages in the phone memory, and the number of messages is limited only by the size of the phone memory. Sent messages are stored in the sent message list, and there are separate lists for unsent messages and drafts.

In smartphones and communicators, SMS are sometimes stored in a shared mailbox, in the same place as emails and MMS.
To dial SMS on a mobile phone, as a rule, the number keypad of the phone is used. Typing is carried out either by successive presses to select the desired letter or by means of any system of predictive typing, such as T9 or iTAP. Some phone models have an alphanumeric keypad, which makes typing much easier. Smartphones and communicators can also use the on-screen keyboard.

SMS and SIM card service applications

SMS is also used in STK applications, such as the SIM menu. Such messages are received and sent unnoticed by the user and do not fall into the General list of received and sent messages.

SMS and landlines

Some operators provide subscribers with SMS service for ordinary landlines. This service allows you to send/receive SMS from your phone to fixed phones and mobile phones.
To send/receive SMS, you need a phone that supports SMS function.

Application of SMS technology

  • SMS-mailing
  • Sending SMS with the exchange rate, weather, etc.
  • Service “mobile Bank”. With its help, banks notify credit card holders of the written-off funds
  • Notification about discounts, sales, promotions
  • Check the existence of a mobile number when registering on some online resources
  • Integration of bulk SMS in online shopping


Due to SMS-mailing, many scammers entice users of cellular communication money or important confidential information. This area of fraud is called smishing (eng. SMiShing — from “SMS” and “phishing”).