SMS vs BBM: Difference and Comparison

When it comes to communication, texting has surpassed phone calls. The first, SMS, is at the forefront of messaging. However, many people prefer comparable services such as BBM or Blackberry Messenger.

The primary distinction between SMS and BBM is the phones that they support.

Key Takeaways

  1. SMS is a standard text messaging service available on most mobile phones, while BBM is a messaging app specifically for BlackBerry devices.
  2. BBM offers additional features like group chats, voice notes, and read receipts, which SMS does not support.
  3. SMS messages are sent through cellular networks, while BBM messages rely on internet connectivity.


SMS can be used on any mobile device that supports text messaging while incurring charges. BBM is exclusive to BlackBerry devices and free on the phone. This means that users must have a BlackBerry device to use BBM, while SMS can be used on any device with text messaging capabilities.


The SMS feature works on all kinds of phones. It delivers messages using a telco and does not require an internet connection to work or send messages to another person.

It may incur additional costs if you try to send a message to a receiver in another country/state. It does not support messages in audio format.

BBM works on Blackberry phones only. It requires a stable internet connection as it delivers messages using the internet and Blackberry servers. It does not incur additional roaming charges to send messages from any corner of the world.

The BBM also supports audio format messages and emoticons, which cannot be found in SMS.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSMSBBM
DevicesWorks on all phonesWorks only on Blackberry phones
Message DeliveryDelivers messages through telecommunicationsDelivers messages through internet and Blackberry servers
Internet RequirementInternet connection is not requiredInternet connection is required
Roaming/ International ChargesIncurs additional roaming chargesDoes not incur additional charges
Audio DeliverAudio format is not supportedAudio format is supported

What is SMS?

SMS has been a part of our lives for decades, but technology has a longer history than you might think.

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In 1984, German engineer Friedhelm Hillebrand and his colleague Bernard Ghillebaert began developing a system that would allow them to send messages over the phone network using GSM standards. Their research ultimately paid off in the 1990s.

The first SMS was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom. By the 2010s, hundreds of thousands of SMS messages were being sent per second. Every text message, also known as an SMS message, is entirely composed of text.

If a user submits a message with more than 160 characters, it may be split into up to six parts, totalling 918 characters.

It was sometimes referred to as “SMS” in the early days of its use. To characterize the message, the abbreviation was utilized as a noun. It might also be used as a verb.

It was popular for early cell phone users to characterize themselves as “SMSing” a buddy. 

According to Pew Research Center research, on average, people who converse through text messages send and receive 41.5 texts daily.

Millions of text messages are delivered and received every day despite the development of social media and internet-based messaging systems.


What is BBM?

Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is an instant messaging program that is available for free. It was first limited to Blackberry smartphones but swiftly spread to other devices.

It has now gained popularity due to its capabilities and the fact that it allows users to send free messages to one another regardless of network or phone type.

BBM was initially designed for the Blackberry handset, which is mostly used for business purposes.

However, the instant messaging service quickly became popular as a convenient method to connect and send instant messages to other BBM users without using phone charges.

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Because it provides free phone calls and messages to users in various countries, the app is especially popular in border regions such as the northwest. In that regard, the app was revolutionary. BBM is simple to use.

You must establish an account after downloading BBM.

After you have done this, you will be granted a one-of-a-kind “PIN” that will serve as your login. You may either use a QR code or send your PIN to other BBM users to add contacts.

After you have added a contact, you may start a chat with them. BBM is free to use, but some features, such as a personalized PIN or unique stickers, need a monthly membership.

blackberry messenger

Main Differences Between SMS and BBM

  1. SMS works on all phones, whereas BBM only works on Blackberry phones.
  2. SMS delivers messages through telecommunications, whereas BBM delivers messages through the Internet and Blackberry servers.
  3. An internet connection is not required for SMS, but it is required for BBM.
  4. SMS incurs additional roaming charges. On the other hand, BBM does not incur any additional roaming or international charges whatsoever.
  5. Audio format is not supported on SMS, but it is supported on BBM.
Difference Between SMS and BBM

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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12 thoughts on “SMS vs BBM: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I would have to agree that SMS was revolutionary in the way it transformed the way we communicate and BBM was a significant step forward, but there exist much better tools out there nowadays

  2. The main difference is not only the devices that support it but also the way messages are sent and if additional charges incur, but the additional support for group chats, voice notes, and read receipts in BBM are a big plus.

  3. I would argue that SMS has not surpassed phone calls but rather complemented them, BBM may be a good tool for Blackberry users but being exclusive for one kind of telephone is a significant restriction in my opinion


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