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The protocols allowed users to send and receive messages of up to 160 alpha-numeric characters to and from GSM mobiles.Although most SMS messages are mobile-to-mobile text messages, support for the service has expanded to include other mobile technologies, such as ANSI CDMA networks and Digital AMPS.
The last three words transformed SMS into something much more useful than the prevailing messaging paging that some in GSM might have had in mind.
The material elaborated in GSM and its WP1 subgroup was handed over in Spring 1987 to a new GSM body called IDEG (the Implementation of Data and Telematic Services Experts Group), which had its kickoff in May 1987 under the chairmanship of Friedhelm Hillebrand (German Telecom).
The text of the message was "Merry Christmas." The first commercially sold SMS service was offered to consumers, as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in Finland in 1993.
Most early GSM mobile phone handsets did not support the ability to send SMS text messages, and Nokia was the only handset manufacturer whose total GSM phone line in 1993 supported user-sending of SMS text messages.
Besides the completion of the main specification GSM 03.40, the detailed protocol specifications on the system interfaces also needed to be completed.