According to Matti Makkonen, the inventor of SMS text messages, Nokia 2010, which was released in January 1994, was the first mobile phone to support composing SMSes easily.One factor in the slow takeup of SMS was that operators were slow to set up charging systems, especially for prepaid subscribers, and eliminate billing fraud which was possible by changing SMSC settings on individual handsets to use the SMSCs of other operators.According to one market research report, as of 2014, the global SMS messaging business was estimated to be worth over 0 billion, accounting for almost 50 percent of all the revenue generated by mobile messaging.

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.

However, not all text messaging systems use SMS, and some notable alternative implementations of the concept include J-Phone's Sky Mail and NTT Docomo's Short Mail, both in Japan.

Email messaging from phones, as popularized by NTT Docomo's i-mode and the RIM Black Berry, also typically uses standard mail protocols such as SMTP over TCP/IP.

Besides the completion of the main specification GSM 03.40, the detailed protocol specifications on the system interfaces also needed to be completed.

CAMEL allows the gsm SCP to block the submission (MO) or delivery (MT) of Short Messages, route messages to destinations other than that specified by the user, and perform real-time billing for the use of the service.

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 first action plan mentions for the first time the Technical Specification 03.40 "Technical Realisation of the Short Message Service". The first and very rudimentary draft of the technical specification was completed in November 1987.

The work on the draft specification continued in the following few years, where Kevin Holley of Cellnet (now Telefónica O2 UK) played a leading role.

The first action plan of the CEPT Group GSM was approved in December 1982, requesting that, "The services and facilities offered in the public switched telephone networks and public data networks ...