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Messages could be sent and received on ISDN phones, and these can send SMS to any GSM phone.
The possibility of doing something is one thing, implementing it another, but systems existed from 1988 that sent SMS messages to mobile phones usually messaging from one mobile phone to another mobile phone.
Under SS7, it is a "state" with a 160 character data, coded in the ITU-T "T.56" text format, that has a "sequence lead in" to determine different language codes, and may have special character codes that permits, for example, sending simple graphs as text.
This was part of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and since GSM is based on this, made its way to the mobile phone.
The GSM in the US had to use a frequency allocated for private communication services (PCS) – what the ITU frequency régime had blocked for DECT – Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications – 1000-feet range picocell, but survived.
American Personal Communications (APC), the first GSM carrier in America, provided the first text-messaging service in the United States.
It has grown beyond alphanumeric text to include multimedia messages (known as MMS) containing digital images, videos, and sound content, as well as ideograms known as emoji (happy faces, sad faces, and other icons).
In countries such as Finland, Sweden and Norway, over 85% of the population use SMS.
The European average is about 80%, and North America is rapidly catching up with over 60% active users of SMS by end of 2008 Text messaging is most often used between private mobile phone users, as a substitute for voice calls in situations where voice communication is impossible or undesirable (e.g., during a school class or a work meeting).
Like e-mail and voice mail, and unlike calls (in which the caller hopes to speak directly with the recipient), texting does not require the caller and recipient to both be free at the same moment; this permits communication even between busy individuals.
Text messages can also be used to interact with automated systems, for example, to order products or services from e-commerce websites, or to participate in online contests.