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January 13, 2014

More instant messages than texts sent in UK

WhatsApp and Snapchat contribute to 160bn instant messages sent via web in 2013.

By CBR Staff Writer

The number of text messages sent by mobile users in the UK has dropped for the first time in two decades by 7bn to 145bn in 2013.

The lower figures come as new smartphone owners turned to web-based instant message services including WhatsApp and Snapchat, according to a new report.

Deloitte’s latest annual technology predictions report revealed that the number of text messages is anticipated to drop again to 140bn this year.

Deloitte telecoms research head Paul Lee was cited by the Guardian as saying this is the first decline in texting in the UK since texting was invented.

"We have reached a tipping point. But the usage of mobile phones to send messages is stronger than ever," Lee said.

"This year, trillions of instant messages will be sent in place of a text message.

"The report added that about 160bn instant messages were sent in 2013, surpassing the number of texts for the first time and by late 2014, the number of instant messages is anticipate to double the annual number of texts to 300bn.

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About 50bn instant messages are anticipated to be sent per day, with 18 trillion over the following 12 months than 21bn text messages.

"Smartphones have a dazzling array of features and functions, and some of this functionality is not straightforward to use," Lee added.

"Apps are daunting, particularly when there is no filter by age."

The report also anticipates that nearly half of senior citizens in the UK will own a smartphone by late 2014, still behind the national average, which is anticipated to reach 68% this year, while the generation gap would fade away by 2020.

In 2014, the report anticipates that about a quarter of older smartphone owners will not download a single app amidst fears of hidden charges or the stealing of private data.

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