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The last three words transformed SMS into something much more useful than the prevailing messaging paging that some in GSM might have had in mind.
The material elaborated in GSM and its WP1 subgroup was handed over in Spring 1987 to a new GSM body called IDEG (the Implementation of Data and Telematic Services Experts Group), which had its kickoff in May 1987 under the chairmanship of Friedhelm Hillebrand (German Telecom).
The text of the message was "Merry Christmas." The first commercially sold SMS service was offered to consumers, as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in Finland in 1993.
One factor in the slow takeup of SMS was that operators were slow to set up charging systems, especially for prepaid subscribers, and eliminate billing fraud which was possible by changing SMSC settings on individual handsets to use the SMSCs of other operators.
Besides the completion of the main specification GSM 03.40, the detailed protocol specifications on the system interfaces also needed to be completed.