SMS in Indian Languages Soon – Thanks to CEWiT’s 7-bit Encoding

Centre for Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) has developed a 7-bit encoding technology, which will allow SMS to be send in 22 Indian languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi and Assamese. Further, text messages can be transliterated from one language to another.

The encoding technology is approved by the global mobile standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The new 7-bit encoding scheme for Indian language SMS is now part of the 3GPP specifications. It is reported that, cell operators, phone makers and Telecome regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have agreed to adopt the technology.

Seven-bit encoding allows 160-character SMSs in regional languages also, approved by Trai and global mobile standards body 3GPP, accepted by cellular operators and phone manufacturers. In the Internet, Indian languages are represented in UNICODE system, which uses 16 bits for an Indic character.


CEWiT, established in 2004, is funded jointly by the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and a consortium of major stakeholders in the Indian Telecom industry. CEWiT is an autonomous entity, but it works closely with IIT-Madras and is currently located within the IIT-Madras campus.

CEWiT is also collaborating with countries like Japan, and is looking to launch 4G in 2010. By the end of 2009, the Centre is expected to have finished working on developing some of the standards for 4G.

The Centre’s aims include early development of prototypes and product launches. The Centre has built up a strong partnership with the Indian wireless industry. The centre has has 25 scientists.

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