UK texts top a billion a week

UK texts top a billion a week

SMS technology appeals to all levels of society

Mobile phone users in the UK send an average of 1.2 billion text messages a week, according to the latest quarterly UK research by the Mobile Data Association (MDA).

The figures show that 4,825 billion messages were sent during September 2007, the equivalent of 4,000 every second and equating to all the messages sent during the whole of 1999.

"The continued growth of text volumes remains a source of fascination for us all at the MDA," said Mike Short, chairman of the MDA.

"We have been central in helping to promote the technology from our initial campaigns back in 1998. Today text messaging remains important, but as part of a much larger and more complex mobile communications industry.

"From mobile TV, mobile advertising and marketing to internet browsing and music and content creation, the mobile device continues to extend its reach into increasing parts of all our lives."

Every person in the UK sends an average of 70 texts a month, representing 25 per cent growth compared to 2006 and prompting the MDA to revise its annual predicted total figure from 48 billion to 52 billion messages in 2007.

MDA researchers attribute this continued increase to several factors, including the wide variety of bundled or packaged monthly deals from mobile operators.

All customers are getting a deal to suit their own mobile usage needs, while UK businesses have woken up to the potential of SMS.

Furthermore, the simplicity and compatibility of text messaging means that it is embraced by all levels of society as a technology that works on every phone, at home or abroad.

Finally, the MDA has seen a significant increase in companies communicating with customers and employees via SMS as marketers begin to realise the potential of mobile marketing.

"The UK text volumes show no signs of abating and the UK sits within the top six of the global league of countries sending text messages," said Short.

"While the trend towards operators offering 'all-you-can-eat' tariffs increases, this will act as a catalyst for consumers' passion for all things mobile."

The first commercial SMS was sent in December 1992 when Neil Papworth, an engineer at Airwide Solutions, texted 'Merry Christmas' to a counterpart at Vodafone.