Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Lower than the average

According to this BBC news article, 25 billion text (SMS) messages were sent by Brits last year, 133 million of which were sent on New Year’s Eve.
That means that last year, every person in the UK sent, on average, over 400 text messages. That’s more than 1 a day!
Now while mobile phone penetration in the UK is now at something stupid like 90% of adults, that still leaves a significant number of people without mobiles. Furthermore, we can’t assume that everyone with a mobile phone actually sends text messages – like my mum for instance who uses her mobile phone solely as a… erm… phone.
So if we assume that only 80% of the UK population actually sends text messages (we’ll say 47 million people), the average per year rises to over 500 per year, or 10 a week. Now I know for a fact that I and many people I know don’t send anything like that many, so there must be some serious texters out there.


  1. I have to admit, I have upwards of 300 message a month sent from my phone, which is an average of 10 a day. I feel that I’m making up for everyone else, but I am by no means the most prolific texter of all my friends.
    New Year’s Eve, I dread to think how many I sent, but it’s 785 for the month of December!

  2. It makes me remember the innocence of my angst-filled youth, when I sent most certainly anywhere between 200 and 500 messages a month.
    It was a long time ago, don’t ask. 😉

  3. Does the number including incoming messages from places like Yahoo? I get a message a day from Yahoo telling me what the weather is like outside before I go off to work. I also get baseball scores once the game is over for 2 teams I follow.
    Just a thought…

  4. I was beginning to wonder that too… text messaging is used by a lot of companies as a marketing tool and so it may account for quite a large proportion of that number.

  5. Someone’s getting my share, then, ‘cos I’ve sent less than five in my entire life 😉

  6. I send about 20 a week but mostly using the Internet. I remember when I was a bit younger everyone in school (expecially girls) used to send a ridiculous amount of the things.
    I just prefer to call people unless I’m somewhere that makes that impossible.

  7. I send about 20 a year.
    But then i put £20 on my phone in august, and I have £5 left! 10p a message adds up fast, so I dont bother.
    I assume the heavy texters are on tarrifs which include lots of free ones – the cost on Pay as you go would be horrific!

  8. Hi Neil,
    Did I stumble upon some community of luddites?
    Come on! The UK is not quite Finland or Korea, but its still one of the top dozen leading mobile countries in the world, a full two years ahead of the USA. No Neil, it is not 90% of “adults” who have mobile phones, it really is 90% of all Brits, babies and grannies included. Of course the 3 year olds don’t have mobile phones, so it means that in the UK already about 15% of the population carries 2 phones and subscriptions.
    As to SMS text messaging, the UK average of about 1.2 SMS per subscriber (and me with two phones means I actually average 2.4 per day) is way below the world leaders – in the Philippines and Singapore they send over 12 per day per person across the whole population. Even in Europe the leaders are our neighbors, Ireland and Norway, both at about 3 SMS per day across the whole population
    And then to light and heavy users, yes there are those, usually older users, who send only a few per year. And there are young adults who average literally over 10 per DAY.
    SMS text messaging is an industry worth over 60 million dollars worldwide – making it bigger than Hollywood and the music industries… combined! More people use SMS than e-mail worldwide (as many poorer people cannot afford a PC).
    For more on the business of mobile telecoms and SMS, read my second book, m-Profits – the only business book on advanced mobile telecoms.
    Tomi T Ahonen/HatRat 🙂