Text messaging reaches 20th anniversary

The average UK consumer now sends around 50 text message every week, new research from Ofcom has revealed.

Carrying out the survey to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first ever SMS sent by British engineer Neil Papworth from his computer to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone, the watchdog claimed the technology has changed the way individuals communicate.

According to Ofcom, more than 150 billion text messages were sent in the UK in 2011, representing a significant rise from the 51 billion sent in 2006.

Researchers found the communication method is most popular among youngsters aged between 12 and 15, who claim to spend around 193 SMS every week – representing almost four times the national average.

A decline in the number of text messages sent was recorded at the start of 2012, which is thought to be a result of people utilising alternative forms of text-based communications including instant messaging and social media.

James Thickett, director of research from Ofcom, said: “Texts have now surpassed traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent way of keeping in touch for UK adults, revolutionising the way we socialise, work and network.”