Texting Use Reaches 4 Billion People After 20 Years of SMS Introduction
By Vittorio Hernandez | December 3, 2012 10:03 AM EST
Twenty years ago, 22-year-old British engineer Neil Papworth sent the message "Merry Christmas" to an Orbitel 901 mobile phone from his office computer. It was the world's first text message and since then the number of people who use the short messaging service on their cell phones had grown to 4 billion.
Mr Papworth said he never thought that texting would even overtake the traditional phone voice call as the most common method to keep in touch.
"Back then I had no idea - I was just doing a day's testing. It wasn't until the 10th anniversary that I realised and thought, 'Wow, that was a big thing,'" SkyNews quoted Mr Papworth.
While use of SMS has skyrocketed and reached 8 trillion test messages sent a year, it appears texting has reached its peak after two decades and its usage is starting to decline.
In the UK where the first text message was sent on Dec 3, 1992, media regulator Ofcom reported that SMS use declined the past two quarters by over one billion SMS. From a peak of 39.7 billion at the end of 2011, SMS sent has gone down to 38.5 billion.
It is the first recorded drop in texting use that has been replicated in the U.S., which Ofcom Director of Research James Thickett attributed to the availability of other instant messaging services such as Twitter and Facebook and Web-based communications like WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger, iMessenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger, many of which are free on smartphones and tablets.
The bulk of text messages sent in the UK were made by young people in the age bracket 12 to 15 years old who average 193 SMS sent weekly or four times higher the UK average.
Another survey by Acison, a mobile communication firm, said 92 per cent of smartphone users prefer texting to talking over the phone and people in the age group 18 to 25 sent the highest number of text messages at an average of 133 per week.
Texting or talking on the mobile phone has been blamed for a rising number of vehicular accidents, prompting many countries to ban the use of cell phones while driving.
Besides motorists, use of SMS has also caused trouble for some people such as number one golfer Tiger Woods whose text messages to a girlfriend in 2009 was made public which cost him millions of sponsorship royalties and a divorce from wife Elin Nordegren, which cost him $750 million
To avert more disaster when texting, particularly when drunk (even if not driving), a young woman posted a video on YouTube providing tips of drunk texting. The video, shown below, has more than 300,000 hits so far.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Pope Francis Meets Sudanese Woman Who Was Spared Death for Apostasy (PHOTOS)
- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: King Williem-Alexander, Queen Maxima Hold Solemn Reception Ceremony for Victims
- Jennifer Lawrence & Nicholas Hoult Allegedly Split: Mad Max Actor Cheats with Kristen Stewart & Riley Keough - Reports
- Transfer News: FC Barcelona Shockingly Sign Valencia Defender [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Fast Food Meat Scandal: McDonald’s Suspend Nuggets and McSpicy Chicken Filets
- Malaysia Airlines Considers Changing Name After MH370 and MH17 Tragedies
- Air New Zealand Flies Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
- Solution to Your Old Unwanted Phones Comes with MobileMuster Scheme
- IBM Named Leader in Worldwide Managed Security Services
- Apple iPhone 6 on Two Confirmed Release Dates, New Parts Leaked Suggesting Bigger iPhone to Come
- Xiaomi Mi4 vs OnePlusOne vs Nexus 5: Mi4 is the ‘Perfect’ Phone
- Google Nexus 6, 8 with Android L on Release Date Promises Killer Mobile Device Experience
- Israeli Women Stripping Naked for IDF Soldiers
- HTC One M8 Android 4.4.3 KitKat Update Roll Out, Introducing the HTC One Remix
- Shocking Video of Pedigree Dog Culling in Bali Emerges [Video]
- Sony Xperia Z3 Specs Leaked with More Killer Features Ahead of Samsung Galaxy Note 4, iPhone 6