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The Text Message Turns 20

Happy 20th birthday, text message!

On Dec. 3, 1992, the first SMS was sent to a mobile phone, reading simply: “Merry Christmas.” It was part of a mobile-messaging project for European carrier Vodafone and paved the way for a new way to communicate on the go, a technology that saw 200,000 texts sent every minute and 6.1 trillion texts sent worldwide at its peak in 2010.

After two decades, though, texting is beginning to show its age: More people now use email, instant-message apps, and other mobile-messaging systems on their smartphones. Those services tend to use a data package and don’t require additional fees, whereas most carriers still charge for a text-messaging plan.

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