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Understanding Unicode SMS

What Exactly is a Unicode SMS?

"Unicode SMS" describes text messages that are sent and received, containing characters that don't fall within the default GSM character set. The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), initially termed as “Groupe Spécial Mobile”, primarily includes a set of 128 characters. This set encompasses letters (A-Z), numbers (0-9), and various commonly used symbols like @, ?, !, &, and more, which are prevalent in mobile communication.

GSM's Limitations and the Rise of Unicode:

Originating in Europe, GSM employs a 7-bit binary code. As a result, it has inherent limitations. One of its major drawbacks is the inability to represent characters from alphabets like Cyrillic, or languages such as Chinese, Arabic, and Thai, among others. This 128-character constraint needed a solution for more inclusive communication.

Over time, several methods were proposed to address GSM's shortcomings. Among them, the Unicode standard emerged as the most effective solution, enabling the representation of a vast array of global characters and ensuring comprehensive communication across languages and cultures.