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Ofcom research says UK mobile users now text more than they talk

The amount of voice calls from mobile phones is falling for the first time ever, according to new research published by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom. It says the volume of voice calls from mobiles fell by 1% in 2011, while the volume of calls from fixed-line phones dropped by 10%. The average Briton now sends 50 text messages per week; a figure that’s more than doubled in the past four years.

In fact, 58% of people said they used text messaging to communicate with friends and family every day while only 47% used mobile voice calls to do this.

Full details of the Ofcom announcement are shown below.

UK is now texting more than talking

July 17, 2012

  • Mobile voice calls in decline for the first time ever, as more switch to text and online communications
  • Newer ways of communicating led by 16-24s, with texting and social networking more frequently used than either phone calls or face to face communications
  • The average Briton now sends 50 texts per week
  • Two fifths of UK adults now own a smartphone, with the same proportion saying their phone is the most important device for accessing the internet
  • Tablet ownership has jumped from 2% to 11% in 12 months

Text-based communications are surpassing traditional phone calls or meeting face to face as the most frequent ways of keeping in touch for UK adults.

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

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. Almost another ninety 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 Communications Market Report 2012, 96% of 16-24s are using some form of text based application on a daily basis to communicate with friends and family; with 90% using texts and nearly three quarters (73%) using social networking sites.

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

The report shows that traditional forms of communications are declining in popularity, with the overall time spent on the phone falling by 5% in 2011. This reflects a 10% 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 1%) 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% owning six or more devices.

Author: The Fonecast
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