Happy 20th anniversary, text messaging - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Happy 20th anniversary, text messaging

LONDON (WKOW) -- It was 20 years ago, today, British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first-ever text message.

Papworth had to use a computer terminal to send the message to a colleague's cell phone, stating "Merry Christmas."

Believe it or not, "texting" had a slow start.  It eventually surged in popularity, especially when it became cheaper than calling.

Texting is the single most-widely used application in the world, with 81 percent of mobile phone subscribers using it.

For the first time, though, texting is on the decline as free alternatives such as instant messaging apps are becoming more and more popular.

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