Frequently Asked Questions
SMS is made possible by the robust cell phone infrastructure made up of cell towers and satellites. These remote hubs create control channels. When you send a text message, it travels on one of these control channels to the corresponding tower, which routes it to the corresponding control channel of the receiver. SMS messages can fit up to 160 characters in a single message, but modern services can automatically split up longer messages in order to send the complete text.
SMS is great for communicating short comments that do not require an entire phone conversation. Cell phone users can now send multimedia content through SMS, including pictures and videos. In the business world, SMS has become a popular direct-marketing tactic. Businesses can send short messages, which are sometimes accompanied by Web links, directly to target customers’ mobile phones. SMS is the new standard for fast text communication.
Cell phone plans include options for different text messaging amounts. If you are like many Americans who view texting as the most efficient form of communication, you will likely want an unlimited SMS plan to avoid incurring expensive per-text charges.
You may not always be on your phone, but it is constantly sending and receiving information over control channels. These pathways between cell phone and cell towers exchange packets of data and establish an ongoing connection. Control channels also serve as the highway for SMS messages. These messages travel from cell phones to towers, which route them to the correct control channel in a matter seconds. Each packet of data contains the message, a time stamp, the format and the destination phone number.
From a user’s perspective, an SMS message travels from one phone to another instantly and we usually don’t think twice about how it got there. Millions of consumers around the world own a smartphones or a tablet and most of them use SMS messaging to make plans, check-in or communicate with others.
SMS, or Short Message Service, was the initial app developed to send text between cell phones. SMS messages travel on control channels between cell phones and cell towers for delivery within seconds. Users are limited to 160 characters per SMS message, but most services can automatically break up longer messages into the appropriate amounts of texts. Widespread cell phone use led to a boom in SMS messaging in the early 2000s and new technology has taken this popular form of communication a step further.
MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, is the next generation of text messaging. The process of sending an MMS message is the same as an SMS text, but once it gets to the cell tower, the message center sends it via the Internet to the recipient’s carrier. The recipient message center then determines whether the recipient’s handset is capable of receiving MMS messages. If so, it sends a URL to the phone as a text message and the phone translates the content. MMS is a more complicated system, but it still delivers messages in seconds.
SMS can extend to web applications and enhance the overall computing experience with mobile communication.
Almost all mobile phones come equipped with SMS capabilities, but now tablets are starting to get into the act. Some tablet providers offer data plans that include SMS coverage. If not, a number of apps can enable SMS communication between tablets and other mobile devices. If you need SMS to connect with your kids, co-workers or significant other, a tablet is a viable option. Otherwise, make sure your mobile device has SMS, and buy a bundle that works for you. When considering what kind of SMS plan you need, overestimate how much you use it. Try SMS and you might be hooked.