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Texting Now More Popular than Talking on Phone: U.K. Regulator Reports

July 18, 2012

The nation previously known for its great writers and poets is now favoring the writing and sending of text messages. British consumers last year were more likely to send a text than use a phone to make a traditional call, according to a new study.

British regulator Ofcom reports that 58 percent of U.K. consumers sent texts daily compared to 47 percent making a mobile call every day.

In a review of the study, the BBC reported U.K. consumers sent an average of 50 texts weekly. Fewer calls were made each week through either fixed or mobile phones, the source added.

“The average U.K. consumer now sends 50 texts per week which has more doubled in four years with over 150 billion text messages sent in 2011,” according to the Ofcom report.

An overwhelming 96 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds in the United Kingdom uses a texting app daily to communicate with either friends or family, the study showed. Some 90 percent will text and 73 percent will use social networking sites.

The study also noted the number of mobile calls slipped last year – for the first time – by over 1 percent. In addition, landline calls dropped by 10 percent during 2011. A similar trend showed that time spent on the phone dropped by 5 percent during last year.

"Talking face-to-face or on the phone are no longer the most common ways for us to interact with each other," James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research, said in a statement.

There were other significant trends detailed by the U.K. regulator. Thirty-nine percent of U.K. adults, for example, owned a smartphone as of last year – a 12-percent increase from 2010. Also, 42 percent of these adults said smartphones are used the most among devices for accessing the Internet.

There are also more U.K. residents who own a tablet, 11 percent, compared to 2 percent in the previous year. Ten percent of U.K. consumers own an e-reader.

Particularly interesting, over half of U.K. smartphone users use their phone when shopping in stores. And 5 percent of U.K. homes own an Internet-connected smart TV.

“Our research reveals that in just a few short years, new technology has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate,” Thickett said in a statement quoted by TMCnet. “Newer forms of communications are emerging which don't require us to talk to each other especially among younger age groups. This trend is set to continue as technology advances and we move further into the digital age.”

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Edited by Braden Becker
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