[aprssig] Google APRS

Jon K Hellan hellan at acm.org
Thu Feb 5 03:38:52 CST 2009

Phil - AD6NH wrote:
> True - it was only a matter of time.  I think we could look at this 
> positively though.  Hams have long been pioneers of technology, and 
> indeed with APRS it has been no exception.  Hams were text messaging via 
> APRS long before cell phones were available that had that capability.  

Text messaging was part of GSM from the very beginning, and the first commercial deployment was in 1991 in Finland.
We gor out first GSM phone in the summer of 1995, and we were by no means early adopters. It took a while for
texting to take off, but the phone we got was the cheapest and simplest we could find, and it did have text messaging.
We never expected to use it, though.

For many years, texting here was free. Apparently, it wasn't a conscious "the first shot is free" strategy, although
they used that when they later introduced multimedia messaging. The story I heard is that texting was designed in
mostly as a test and debugging facility, and that they didn't expect customer use to be enough to recover the cost
of writing software to charge for it.

APRS is certainly older than this, but there were many groups working with packet radio. I recently heard Vint Cerf
giving a lecture about the early days of the Arpanet. They were doing packet radio in the hundreds of kilobits/s in
the seventies.

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