Airwide Solutions, the leading provider of next-generation mobile messaging and mobile internet infrastructure, applications and solutions, is today celebrating fifteen years of the SMS (short message service). In December 1992, Airwide was responsible for delivering the first ever SMS. The message, delivered on the Vodafone network, said 'Merry Christmas' and the man who sent it is still working as an engineer for Airwide today.

Neil Papworth, then working for the company as a test engineer and today Principle Software Engineer comments: "I was a young engineer working on new communications technologies. We thought SMS was a clever way for a company's staff to send simple messages to one another. I'd never have predicted that it would spread into the consumer world and become what it is today. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal."

Kevin Wood, CEO of Airwide Solutions, says "We are celebrating not only the success of mobile messaging with SMS being fifteen years old, but also the way in which mobile messaging has evolved, how we use it today and where it is headed in the future. Text messaging has come a long way in fifteen years and we are still seeing SMS volumes continue to increase, particularly in countries with developing mobile networks, such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia. The biggest debate in the industry was whether or not SMS will be superseded and, if so, by what.  We have seen SMS continue to grow and not only do we expect this will continue well into the future, but SMS will be one of the underpinning technologies that drives many new uses beyond person-to-person texting."

To celebrate fifteen years of SMS, Airwide last night hosted an industry party in London, which included a panel discussion on the evolution of SMS and the future of mobile messaging. Panel participants included Kevin Wood, CEO of Airwide Solutions; Paul Gill, Product Manager, Wholesale and Premium Messaging, Vodafone UK; John Delaney, Principal Analyst at Ovum; Mike Short, Chairman of the Mobile Data Association and Jonathan Bass, Chair of the UK MMA.

The panel focused on what growth potential remained in mobile messaging and how consumers will adapt to new messaging formats. The panel agreed that text culture is here to stay and, with applications such as mobile advertising, mobile internet, payments and location-based services, text messaging will continue its growth even in a mature market. There was unanimous agreement that global mobile subscribers will drive the continued growth in SMS and, as new messaging technologies are developed, it is the consumer who will decide which format will be successful in fifteen years time.

John Delaney, Principal Analyst at Ovum, said of the discussion: "The industry is still struggling to find new services that are anywhere near as popular and profitable as the 15-year old SMS. SMS is simple, ubiquitous, easy to use and cost-effective. These are the guiding principles that all new services must follow, if they are to succeed on the same scale as SMS."

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