The key idea for SMS was to use this telephone-optimized system, and to transport messages on the signalling paths needed to control the telephone traffic during periods when no signalling traffic existed.In this way, unused resources in the system could be used to transport messages at minimal cost.The protocols allowed users to send and receive messages of up to 160 alpha-numeric characters to and from GSM mobiles.
There were also initial discussions in the subgroup WP3 network aspects chaired by Jan Audestad (Telenor).The result was approved by the main GSM group in a June '85 document which was distributed to industry.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 ...should be available in the mobile system." The GSM is optimized for telephony, since this was identified as its main application.However, it was necessary to limit the length of the messages to 128 bytes (later improved to 160 seven-bit characters) so that the messages could fit into the existing signalling formats.
Based on his personal observations and on analysis of the typical lengths of postcard and Telex messages, Hillebrand argued that 160 characters was sufficient to express most messages succinctly.
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The technical standard known today was largely created by IDEG (later WP4) as the two recommendations GSM 03.40 (the two point-to-point services merged) and GSM 03.41 (cell broadcast).
WP4 created a Drafting Group Message Handling (DGMH), which was responsible for the specification of SMS.
Through these organizations the technology was made freely available to the whole world.