A new service offered by AT&T in 1996 was a key driver in wireless protocol development . AT&T Pocket-Net was an subscription based offering and only provided for one-way communication. The service was limited to specialized phones to retrieve online information (schedules, phone book, email and limited internet access). The service was not widely accepted, , however, the idea spurred development of key technology and protocols for wireless messaging. This research led wireless phone equipment manufacturers to develop Internet phones.
In 1999, the GSM association facilitated network to network messaging in the United Kingdom. This removed some of the current limitations that exist in the United States with network specific protocols and equipment. There is currently a GSM North American Association working to create cross network messaging feasible in the United States. "The addition of interworking between network operators who are competing in the same geographical market gives customers to both networks the opportunity to use SMS in the same way as they do voice. Just as they can make a voice call to each other's phones, so too can they send short messages to each other.
During October of the year 2000, AT&T completed 2 years of testing to allow two-way SMS messaging across their existing TDMA mobile network. AT&T is currently rolling out this service at low prices to gain market absorption and is beginning to target the young adult population as evidenced by Europe's trends in that demographic for this service. The growth rates noted in table 1 below are astounding and should provide AT&T and other wireless service providers in the United States strong optimism for the demand of 2-way SMS messages.