Why there is a limit for SMS

SMS/Short Message Service. In the past, it was used only to send and receive personal mobile messages among users.

Today, however,
the base has expanded to many other areas, such as sending text messages over the Internet to support advertising campaigns or to promote a service or product. This widespread is due to its relatively low cost and the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people at once.

In the Middle East, for example, Saudi Arabia is at the top of the list amongst countries most frequently uses this service, benefiting from it by entrepreneurs, service providers and economists in sending messages of advertising, news, etc.

The world’s first SMS message:

To find out the real reason why there is a limit for the number of characters in a single text message, we must first take you on a short historical tour. December 3, 1992, British engineer Neil Papworth sent an SMS with the words “Merry Christmas” making it the first SMS to be sent with the world’s new global standard adopted in 1989.

But wait, this is not the beginning of the story, as Neil Papworth is not the one who invented SMS or even formulated its standards. The invention of this service is due to the Finnish Matti McQuien, also known to this day as “the father of SMS”, who has been working on the development of this service since 1984.

SMSSolutions.net, the Internet Resource for SMS and MMS products

Convenience Reason?

It may come to your mind that the reason for setting a maximum number of SMS characters is some kind of technical or scientific issue?, Well, not exactly, because the method adopted in 1985 by Mr.

Friedhelm Hillebrand, Chairman of the GSM Non-Voice Services Regulation Committee , the group that sets the most global mobile market standards, does not reflect any technical or scientific criterion, as he adopted the decision to limit the maximum number of characters with one SMS message by the following way:

After writing a large set of random sentences, Mr. Friedhelm Hillebrand calculated the maximum number of letters needed to form a single sentence capable of conveying a complete idea, and found that the average number of letters he needed to write a complete idea was 160 English characters, so he issued his decision to the committee to determine the number of letters in one message to 160 characters at most. Does that sound enough? Or does it seem technically or scientifically reasoned?

To support his decision and issue the final judgment, Hillbrand collected the postcards he was receiving and found that most of them consisted of 150 characters at most, after which the committee carried out a study on a correspondence site that was specialized in business at the time called (Telex) and found that although the website did not specify any maximum number of characters being used in each letter, however, they did not exceed the limit suggested by Hillbrand. This was the real reason behind the limitation of SMS characters to 160 for each letter.

How is it calculated?

A special protocol was then put in place to determine restrictions on the ports for the sending and receiving SMS messages, which are divided into two main sections (MAP MO) concerning the mobile application port of the phone itself, and the other section is (MT) which is used by the company that transports messages between the sender and receiver, the maximum volume of data sent with a single SMS message was set to 1,120 bits. Then letters and symbols were classified by type into three types as follows:

7-bit characters have a maximum of 160 characters to be used in a single message, which represents only Latin characters.

16-bit characters have a maximum of 70 characters to be used in a single message, such as Arabic and Chinese letters.

8-bit characters have a maximum of 140 characters to be used in a single message.

Does that mean you can’t send a bigger message? Of course not, these protocols specify the size of the message sent with one signal, but there is nothing restricting the time period between messages or the number of them, so you can send a larger message but it will be sent in the form of two or more messages depending on the number of letters you use, do not worry your message will not arrive as a scattered parts Separately, because the network uses a number of characters hidden in each part, indicating its order and place, allowing the message to be delivered to the other party as a single message.


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