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Definition of SMS Text Messaging: What is SMS Messaging, Text Messaging?

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Young woman using smartphone on footbridge
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Definition: SMS stands for short message service. SMS is also often referred to as texting, sending text messages or text messaging. The service allows for short text messages to be sent from one cell phone to another cell phone or from the Web to another cell phone.

Including spaces, text messages traditionally can’t exceed 160 characters. SMS messages often use T9 predictive technology. T9 makes text messaging faster and more efficient on non-QWERTY cell phones without full keyboards.

MMS, which is often used to send pictures, extends upon SMS and allows for longer content lengths. Some cell phones have full keyboards for faster texting whereas others require numbers to be tapped multiple times to achieve a particular letter.

While the bulk of a cell phone bill typically is its voice minutes or data usage, text messages are either included in the voice plan or are added as an extra cost. SMS messaging is used pervasively around the globe.

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Pronunciation: ess-em-ess
Also Known As: Texting, text messages, text messaging, short message service
Examples:
I typed an SMS message on my phone and sent the text to my brother’s cell phone.
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