Neil Papworth


Photo Gallery


Hit Counter
people have
visited my page!

Sender of the world's first SMS.

Hi, I'm Neil Papworth.  I was born and raised in Reading, UK.  I studied computing and started my career at Ferranti International in Bracknell, designing and programming a movable vehicle satellite antenna and implementing software for automated helicopter landing aids.

In 1991, I moved to Sema Group Telecoms, and it's with them that on December 3rd, 1992, I sent the world's first ever text message.  I was part of the team developing a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) for our customer, Vodafone UK, and was chosen to go to their Newbury site to install, integrate and test the software and get it all working.  Initially the idea was for them to use it essentially as a paging service - no-one had any idea how gigantic the texting phenomenon would become.

Since mobile phones didn't yet have keyboards, I typed the message out on a PC.  It read, "Merry Christmas," and I sent it to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone, who was enjoying his office Christmas party at the time.

I remained with Sema Group and its successors (SchlumbergerSema, Airwide Solutions) for many years as a software developer, then a designer, and later a product architect, living and working all over the world, from Singapore and Sydney to Seattle and Toronto.  Texting didn't really take off until some years later, once handsets were able to both send and receive and people could send SMS to their friends on different networks.  The first media attention I remember the event receiving was when the BBC News website marked the 10th anniversary of the first text.  Since then, I've given radio interviews, been flown to London with my family for a movie premiere, featured in a Super Bowl ad, been an answer to a Jeopardy question and had articles written on the achievement in newspapers from The Sun to the Times of India and the Montreal Gazette. 

I now live in Montreal with my wife and three kids and work as a software architect for Oracle on their subscriber database solutions.  I follow Formula 1 racing and the latest developments in science and technology, and I enjoy travel, beer and curry*!

*Fueled by RESTAURANT    Mantra.

Home | FAQ | Press | Photo Gallery | Contact

This site was last updated 11/21/12