OMG! 1st txt sent 20yrs ago, 4 realz - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

OMG! 1st txt sent 20yrs ago, 4 realz

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A British software engineer sent the world's first text message 20 years ago. (Source: CNN) A British software engineer sent the world's first text message 20 years ago. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - Monday is a special anniversary for the communications industry. It was 20 years ago that Neil Papworth sent the first ever text message.

He had to use a computer terminal to send the message to a colleague's cell phone: "Merry Christmas."

Texting had a slow start, but eventually it surged in popularity, especially when it became cheaper than calling.

It is the single most-widely used application in the world - 81percent of mobile phone subscribers use it.

Now, free alternatives like instant messaging apps are becoming more and more popular, and text messaging is in decline.

Copyright 2012 CNN. All rights reserved.

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