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Texting overtakes talking in UK

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 18:12

London: Text messaging is now the most popular form of daily communication between British adults, surpassing traditional means like phone calls or meeting face to face.

The average UK consumer now sends 50 texts per week, which has more than doubled in four years, with over 150 billion text messages sent in 2011, new statistics released by Ofcom, the country's communications industry regulator said.

The findings were revealed when adults were asked what methods they used at least once a day to communicate with friends and family.

Almost another 90 minutes per week is spent accessing social networking sites and e-mail, or using a mobile to access the Internet, while for the first time ever fewer phone calls are being made on both fixed and mobile phones.

Teenagers and young adults are leading these changes, increasingly socialising with friends and family online and through text messages despite saying they prefer to talk face to face.

According to Ofcom's report, 96 percent of 16-24s are using some form of text based application on a daily basis to communicate with friends and family; with 90 percent using texts and nearly three quarters (73 percent) using social networking sites.

By comparison, talking on the phone is less popular among this younger age group, with 67 percent making mobile phone calls on a daily basis, and only 63 percent talking face to face.

The report also shows that traditional forms of communications are declining in popularity, with the overall time spent on the phone falling by five percent in 2011. This reflects a 10 percent fall in the volume of calls from landlines, and for the first time ever, a fall in the volume of mobile calls (by just over one percent) in 2011.

These changes in communication habits reflect the rapid increase in ownership of Internet-connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones, making access to web-based communications easier.

UK households now own on average three different types of Internet-enabled device, such as a laptop, smartphone or Internet-enabled games console, with 15 percent owning six or more devices, the Ofcom report said.


First Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 18:10
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