Thanks for your question.
There are quite a number of mentions of SMS-based services to send
emails that predate August 2001. Many of these are enhancements to
one-way email services that allow recipients to reply to the SMS
emails received. Others allow SMS-users to originate the initial
Here are excerpts from a number of newspaper articles that discuss
this technology. Since these are excerpted from specialized newspaper
databases, there are no direct links available to the full articles,
but I've provided citations for each:
E-MAIL WITHOUT LAPTOP HASSLES.
30 November 1995
South China Morning Post
...LEAVING the laptop at home could be a more popular option thanks to
new software called eFone which brings E-mail onto the screen of a GSM
phone....You can also reply to E-mail via the phone's alpha numeric
...The software was developed by Hybrid Systems of New Zealand....Any
GSM phone with Short Messaging Service (SMS) enabled can receive
E-mail. The software to configure eFone runs on Windows 3.1, Windows
95 or on Windows NT...To start receiving E-mail, the existing E-mail
account (SLIP or PPP) should be modified to forward the mail through
to a host which in turn connects to the GSM cellular network.
2 January 1996
...HUTCHISON ORANGE, the UK PCN network, is planning to introduce SMS
to fax services in February, SMS to and from e-mail in March and
introduce a corporate SMS delivery service in the new year...
DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS: Airmail - E-mail for your mobile phone
18 June 1996
...Dynamical Systems Research Limited announces the launch of Airmail
- a service that allows users of digital mobile telephones to send and
receive e-mail directly from their handset via the Internet without
the use of a computer or modem
...Airmail is made possible by DSR's own proprietary technology,
SMSgate, a powerful gateway that links a digital mobile phone network
with SMS (`Short Message Service") capability (such as Vodafone
Digital, Orange or Cellnet), to Internet, fax and other data services.
SMSgate was demonstrated earlier this year at GSM96 World Congress in
...Airmail is flexible and extends current SMS technology. Airmail
concatenates longer e- mails into several SMS messages that appear
sequentially on the screen of the user's phone, whereas SMS limits
messages to 160 characters in length. And because the Airmail gateway
is connected to the Internet, messages are not restricted to a
specific network as is the case with SMS. Also, Airmail allows more
than just the simple sending and receiving of e-mail. Short commands
typed onto the phone allow the Airmail service to be turned on or off,
forward or divert Airmail messages to other Internet addresses and set
the maximum length of e-mail they would like to receive.
DIAL IBM FOR WEB PHONE.
1 December 1996
Personal Computer World
...Residing in the bowels of IBM's Yorktown (NY) research labs is the
Webphone. More than just a mobile phone with SMS or simple email
capabilities, the device is designed to use real Windows-style
software and has an LCD display which gives the illusion of using a
14in monitor floating in space.
...As typing is impossible, the email software comes complete with a
set of mix-and-match phrases to insert into correspondence, such as
"Thanks for your message".
Multilingual software gives voices to the Net
18 December 1996
Times Union (Albany, NY)
...The rush to add voices to Internet communications has taken another
major jump with the announcement of a new multilingual World Wide Web
communications tool....DynaLab Inc., publisher of components for
global communication, has come up with GlobalSurf, to be distributed
electronically by CyberSource Corp. in the United States and Soft&Net
Distribution in Europe.
...Version 2.23 supports the on-demand RAS-based dialer in Windows 95
and Windows NT; the SMS module supports sending e-mail to units that
support the GSM standard and to alpha-numeric pagers. Global Connect
modules also include Internet or MCI Mail.
1 July 1997
Sydney Morning Herald
...Vodafone will release MOBILEinternet in the next couple of months,
which will also offer its customers SMS notification of e-mail through
a direct connection between the Internet service provider Access One
and Vodafone's message centre. Users will also be able to reply using
SMS, which is converted by Access One into Internet e-mail. They can
also filter e-mail they want to receive or exclude.
Fujitsu eyes Net e-mail/GSM link
16 March 1998
Electronic Engineering Times
...Fujitsu Software Corp. is using a server software package to bring
the Global System for Mobile telecommunications' Short Message Service
(GSM SMS) into full integration with Internet e-mail and directory
services. By concatenating multiple SMS messages at the server site,
Fujitsu's ByeDesk Link allows transmission and reception of short
e-mail messages, as well as calendar synchronization with desktops,
from a standard GSM cellular phone.
...The server software concatenates up to 15 SMS packets into standard
e-mail messages. Phone users can send and receive e-mail of up to 2
Celcom offers Internet e-mail over mobile phone.
25 July 1998
...Kuala Lumpur: Customers of Celcom Global Systems for Mobile
Communications (GSM) can now send and receive Internet e-mail messages
of up to 160 characters in length to and from any Internet e-mail
address worldwide...Celcom (M) Sdn Bhd said in a statement the e-mail
via its Short Messaging Service (SMS) was built in-house by Celcom
engineers who have unleashed the vast business potential of the
Internet using mobile phones. "It represents a marriage between the
easy accessibility of GSM with the powerful demand for Internet.
VODAFONE RETAIL: Vodafone Retail brings email to your pocket
23 August 1999
...Vodafone Retail's new BulletIN service brings e-mail messages
directly to customer's pockets! BulletIN allows e-mails to be sent and
received using just a Vodafone handset.
The service allows:
* E-mails to be received and replied to
* E-mails to be sent directly from a digital Vodafone to any e-mail address
* Messages to be redirected to any fax machine for a print out
...E-mails are received as a short text message on the screen of the
Vodafone mobile phone handset. If the message if longer than 160
characters, additional parts of the e-mail can be requested as further
SMS's or forwarded to a fax machine for a printout. The sender's email
can be replied to in the same way as replying to a SMS.
...Sending an e-mail is just like sending a SMS. The message begins
with the receiver's e-mail address (e.g.
firstname.lastname@example.org), a space is left, the message
entered and Send is selected. When the phone prompts for a number,
23533900210630 is typed. This number can always be stored in the phone
book for convenience. It's as easy as that!
...The customer's mobile phone number can be turned into their e-mail
address, for example email@example.com or, if preferred,
they can use their name or a nickname, such as
...Customers must register for Vodafone Retail's BulletIN service but
there is no monthly subscription fee. This means that if the service
isn't used during any one-month, no costs will be incurred.
WIRELESS DATA NEWS
June 25, 1997
AT&T PROVIDES INTERNET SMS E-MAIL TO DPCS CUSTOMERS; POCKETNET PHONES
AND ONE-WAY PAGERS TO BE INCLUDED IN OFFERING
...AT&T Wireless Services [T] has begun offering free Internet e-mail
service to many of the Digital Personal Communications Service (DPCS)
handsets operating on its IS-136 time division multiple access (TDMA)
...One-way messages are routed through the 256-character short
messaging service (SMS) that is bundled with many DPCS customers'
regular voice services....Corporate clients that use AT&T's PocketNet
cellular smart phone service operating on the cellular digital packet
data networks already have two-way e-mail capability and receive an
Internet e-mail address with their phones.
May 29, 1997
Vodafone gets wired with Internet e-mail
...Vodafone has become the first UK digital cellular operator to
launch its own Internet-based electronic-mail service. But rival GSM
operator Cellnet is working on a range of similar services code named
Genie which are expected to become available later this year.
...Subscribers to the service, known as vodafone:m@il, will be able to
send and receive e-mail messages over the GSM network using a laptop
equipped with a PC data card and plugged into a GSM handset, or over
the fixed-line network using a desktop PC equipped with a conventional
modem and plugged into a standard telephone socket.
...The service uses the GSM short messaging service (SMS), which can
accommodate up to 160 characters per message, to alert customers when
an Internet e-mail message has been sent to their Vodafone e-mail
...Should customers wish to send a very short e-mail message from
their laptop of no more than 160 characters, the Vodafone-supplied
software will automatically send this as an SMS telenote message,
which cost 10 pence per message
October 2, 1997
CELLNET LAUNCHES OWN-BRAND E-MAIL SERVICE
...Cellnet has this week launched its own internet-based
electronic-mail service following the lead taken by Vodafone, which
became the first UK cellular operator to introduce its own-brand
e-mail service in May with the launch of vodafone:mil
...The package includes a choice of four Motorola handsets, a Motorola
PC data card, a Cellnet subscriber identity module (SIM) card, a
subscription to Cellnet's frequent caller plus tariff (which gives
subscribers GBP20-worth of inclusive calls a month), and all the
software necessary to send and receive mobile data messages whether
over fax, short messaging system (SMS), or the internet.
NZ Infotech Weekly (Wellington)
September 25, 1995
E-mail to GSM digital phone system unveiled
...AUCKLAND consulting company Hybrid Systems has developed a system
that allows e-mail to be sent to a GSM digital phone...Using a Short
Message Service (SMS), eFone will eventually allow entire messages to
be downloaded and responded to via a mobile phone in what the company
is calling a "world first"....The sender's address and subject are
shown on the phone's alphanumeric display. The option to view the
entire body of the message and the ability to respond to received
e-mail directly from the GSM phone will be activated commercially on
In addition to the above articles, there's also a good overview of the
history of SMS technology here:
Short message service
I trust this information fully answers your question.
However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need. If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.
All the best,
Clarification of Answer by
27 Nov 2006 07:31 PST
In addition to the above, there's also this Nokia patent which looks
to be right on target:
Individual short message service ( SMS) options
United States Patent 6151507
Filing Date: 1997-11-07
Publication Date: 2000-11-21
Assignee: Nokia Mobile Phones Ltd
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
...It is a first object of this invention to provide a radiotelephone
that operates in accordance with a wireless communication protocol,
and which has a capability for enabling a user to specify states of
various types of protocol elements of the wireless communication
protocol, after composing and/or editting a text message in the
radiotelephone, and before transmitting the text message from the
...It is another object of this invention to provide a radiotelephone
having a capability for enabling a user to modify information
pertaining to multiple sets of protocol elements of the wireless
communication protocol, and for enabling the user to select a
particular one of these sets for placing the wireless communication
protocol into a particular configuration that is used for transmitting
a text message from the radiotelephone.
...It is a further object of this invention to provide a
radiotelephone for communicating SMS messages to a network, wherein
the radiotelephone has a capability for enabling a user to specify
that the network convert the SMS messages to other, selected message
types before the network forwards the message to a destination.
...In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the text
message composed by the user may include a Short Message Service (
SMS) message. Also, and in accordance with another aspect of this
invention, the user may operate the mobile terminal so as to specify
that after the text message is communicated to the network, the
network should convert the text message to a selected one of a
plurality of message types before forwarding the text message to a
destination. By example, the user may specify that the network convert
the SMS message to a facsimile message, an electronic mail (E-mail)
message, or a page message. In accordance with this aspect of the
invention, a method comprises a step (a) of entering information into
the mobile terminal for specifying that the text message be converted
by the network to a selected one of the plurality of message types. In
response to the information entered into the mobile terminal at step
(a), the mobile terminal performs steps of (b) prompting the user for
specifying a selected access code for the destination, (c) monitoring
an output of the keypad to detect information specifying the selected
access code for the destination, and (d) in response to detecting this
information, transmitting the text message to the network. The
transmitted text message includes the information entered into the
mobile terminal at step (a) and the information specifying the
selected access code for the destination. After receiving the text
message from the mobile terminal, the network then converts the text
message to the message type specified by the user, and forwards the
message to the destination identified by the user-specified access
Clarification of Answer by
28 Nov 2006 16:39 PST
I'm afraid the answers to your questions are No, No, and No...I didn't
find any additional information on the three specific items you asked
I did come across some additional information on the Fujitsu SMS
service that I thought might be of interest, though.
First, here's another article excerpt on their service:
July 10, 1998
Fujitsu Extends ByeDesk Link Service To Four US Paging Nets
...Fujitsu Software Corp., has extended its ByeDesk Link wireless
server software to work with the main four US pager networks, AT&T
Wireless (now known as Metrocall), MCI, PageMart and PageNet.
...Previously the ByeDesk wireless server software could send and
receive text messages across short message system (SMS) links to users
of digital GSM/PCS 1900 phones in the US and Canada, but the extension
to the four main paging networks increases its potential market
penetration by around 10 million people.
...ByeDesk Link is a server-based software application that can be
deployed within a corporation, or hosted by an internet service
provider (ISP) or GSM based cellular network...Users of ByeDesk Link
services get access to 2-way e-mail, fax, directory access, calendar
synchronization functions, and "instant messaging" of notifications
and data updates -- all from a variety of digital wireless devices
such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), pagers and cellular
...Launched back in February of this year, Fujitsu says that ByeDesk
Link is still the only product on the market that extends virtually
all of the standard connectivity functions of a desktop computer to a
ByeDesk no longer seems to be an active service, but you can see its
archived website from 1999 at the Internet Archives, with some
interesting complications regarding SMS email services:
...Due to serious misuse of the free ByeDesk service we have had to
remove the 'SMTP relay'. This means that you cannot send e-mail using
ByeDesk as your outgoing email server (SMTP server). In stead you must
use the server provided by your internet service provider. Please note
that ByeDesk otherwise works as before.
Other archived pages for ByeDesk can be accessed here:
Hope that additional information is helpful. Let me know if there's
anything more I can do for you.