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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : February 01, 2010

Brits send 11 million text messages per hour

When it comes to mobile phone use, the Brits may not be hot for mobile Internet access, but texting is another matter altogether, found a U.K. mobile monitoring firm.

by Helen Leggatt

MDA logo.jpgWhile connection speeds, the high cost of mobile Internet and poor handset battery life are key factors keeping over three-quarters of Brits from accessing the Internet via their mobile phones, there remains a significant and still developing role for text messaging.

The U.K.-based Mobile Data Association (MDA) has just released figures that reveal the sheer amount of texts being sent in Britain. In 2008, 78.9 billion texts were sent but last year saw that figure rise 23% to reach 96.8 billion - that's 11 million text messages per hour or 265 million per day.

The number of picture messages sent during 2009 was around 601 million, 4.5 million of which were sent on Christmas day.

"These statistics show that even with new social media forms of messaging such as Twitter and Facebook, people are using SMS as a social messaging tool because of its simplicity and ubiquity", said Steve Reynolds, the chairman of the MDA.

"In a seemingly relentless tide of status updates, tweets and pokes, the U.K. population's love affair with mobile messaging for instant, on-the-go communication continues to deepen."

There's no doubt that text messaging is becoming ingrained in day-to-day life and older generations are getting to grips with it, too. Recent research by Tekelec found that 60% of people over the age of 45 are now just as likely to use text messaging as they are to make a voice call. It also revealed that 44% of 35 to 44-year-olds and 14% of over-45s send more than 30 text messages every week.

Also playing a role in the increase in text messaging is the rise of television voting shows such as X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, said Rob Bamforth, a principal analyst at research firm, Quocirca. "Now it is not only a convenient medium for a quick chat with friends, but also a way of participating in television voting and raising funds for needy charities. When a powerful call to action is given, the population of the U.K. often turn first towards their mobile phones."

Tags: British, mobile marketing, SMS, text messaging, trends, U.K.

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