I believe the original limit on text messages was 160 chars. Even back in the 90s it was 20 better than Twitter.
Matti Makkonen, a figure widely held to have influenced the development of SMS, has died at the relatively young age of 63. According to BT, it took some years for Makkonen's pitch to Finland's Telecoms and Postal agency in 1984 to become a reality in 1992. It took even longer for SMS to really hit its straps, because …
Yes - it always was 140 bytes, which when using 3GPP 03.38 7 bit encoding allowed you to fit in 160 characters. The reason for the limit was the max size of an SCCP packet being 255 bytes, which once removing all the header, routing and transactional data should leave you with at least 140 bytes.
Unfortunately the standards then introduced application contexts which added more data meaning that long text messages no longer fit in a single packet, but hey ho, that's life.
Seems to me I was doing well over 300,000 characters using text messages back in the vi/EMACS wars and C/C++ wars on Usenet in the early-mid 1980s. (Lots of over-quoting back then ...).
IRC has always allowed far more than 160 characters.
I won't go into Usenet's alt.binaries groups ... All text, of course.
And trust me, I regularly send email text messages with far more than 160 characters. The entire SMS thingie is (in my mind) a complete waste of time. There are far better tools for communicating, unless you have the mind of a gnat.
Well...20 billion SMS messages a day from a population who aren't all technically minded isn't anything to be sneezed at. Sometimes you need to distance yourself from the technical aspect of communications and look at the social implications/connotations.
The guy did a fantastic job. RIP.
Universality, as in supported by every phone and carrier (after the early years) compensates for the shortcomings of sms. There still is no convincing replacement. For example, to send WhatsApp I must know the recipient used it as well, but he might prefer some other system. Sms avoids this problem by being part of the standard. That is how telecommunications was done in Makkonen's day. Slower-moving, sure, but interoperable. Seems quaint in the internet age...
"You know that that's not one SMS message don't you?"
I wasn't talking about SMS. I was talking about text messaging.
"The longer message is fragmented into several seperate SMS messages in transit and then reassembled into one message by the receiving device."
Correct in a way, but please look up how NTP worked, and later how TCP/IP packets work. Quite a few more "characters" than 160.
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