SMS Background

Short Message Service (SMS), or texting is very popular between mobile phones. A message can be sent between two phones, and normally contains 160 characters. There are ways in which various types of data can be encoded in a text message such as ring tones, and small graphic, etc. Text messaging is being used for voting and competitions, and also SPAM...

Sending a message involves the mobile phone contacting a message centre (SMSC) and passing the message to it. The message centre then contacts the destination mobile to deliver the message. The SMSC is responsible for storing the message and trying to send it until the destination mobile is available, or a timeout.

Landline SMS works in basically the same way. You would normally have a suitable text capable landline phone, or a separate texting box such as a Magic Messenger on your phone line. This sends a message to a message centre your telco provides by making a normal call and sending the data using 1200 Baud FSK signaling according to the ETSI spec. To receive a message the message centre calls the line with a specific calling number, and the text capable phone answers the call and receives the data using 1200 Baud FSK signaling. This works particularly well in the UK as the calling line identity is sent before the first ring, so no phones in the house would ring when a message arrives.