The first SMS (Short Message Service) was sent on December 3, 1992, by Neil Papworth, a 22-year-old test engineer in the UK, to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone, who was attending a Christmas party at the time. The message read "Merry Christmas".
Due to its roots as a technology designed to function with basic mobile phones that had limited memory and processing capabilities, SMS continues to have character limits unlike iMessages or WhatsApp. Despite technological advances, the SMS format has not undergone significant improvements. To ensure the messages could be delivered quickly and reliably, they needed to be kept small. Additionally, SMS uses a separate channel in the cellular network to transmit messages, which has a limited amount of space available for each message.
To ensure efficient delivery, SMS text messages are typically limited to 160 characters. It's possible to send longer SMS text messages by utilizing technologies such as concatenation, which automatically breaks down longer messages into smaller parts. The SMS service provider will use this technology to ensure your longer message is sent efficiently. If the recipient's phone is newer, the message will be displayed as a single long text message. However, if the recipient's phone is older, the message may be received as multiple texts. Despite these advancements, the 160-character limit is still widely accepted as a standard for SMS messaging.