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Argentina

Text Messaging Turns 20

EL CRONISTA (Argentina)

BUENOS AIRES This week marks the 20th anniversary of a technology that has changed the way the world communicates: text messaging.

Also known as Short Message Service (SMS), texting is "simple, every day and cheap, and is now used by more than 4 billion people the world over," El Cronista reports.

When analog mobile phones first began to appear in the early 1980s, the various models in existence relied on different -- and incompatible -- technologies. To bridge the technology divide, participants in a 1982 European telecommunications conference decided to create a standard open network called the Groupe Special Mobile (GSM).

That project gave rise to the idea of SMS, which was first approved for sale in GSM telephones in 1992. But it wasn't until four years later, when the first pre-pay phones hit the market, that texting really started to take off – driven in large part by teens.

In Argentina, cell phone users sent 8.3 billion texts this past February, 21% more than in the same month last year, according to the country's National Communications Committee.

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