Using GSM technology, SMS has been popular in Europe and parts of Asia since 1991. Europeans are said to pass more than two billion text messages across cell phone networks each month.
Thus far, aside from sending and receiving individual text messages, SMS has pushed information (such as sports scores, weather info, or stock quotes) to subscribers, based on what they signed up for. But the future for mobile phone companies lies in creating a demand for pull technology, where customers request and pay for specific information via their phones (such as show times, restaurant listings, and even digital music downloads). SMS can deliver any kind of text-based content or service (including price-comparison services, real-time traffic info, and financial news), but companies are already thinking beyond the present-day plain vanilla SMS to a graphic-rich, 3G phone service that's expected to usurp its text-based predecessors.
SMS is different from IM but has the same downside-it is not designed for secure use.
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