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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Texting goes interactive
Mobile phone sending text messaging
Voting via text has become increasingly popular

Most of Britain's population has used text messaging to vote for their favourite pop star or celebrity in an interactive TV programme.

This is one of the findings of the Mobile Data Association (MDA) in its monthly assessment of the impact of messaging.

The increase in popularity of reality TV shows has gone hand in hand with offering viewers more say over what happens in such shows.

From "Popstars: The Rivals" to the current series of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" viewers are invited to vote for their favourite stars via text message.

Text craze

Reality show Big Brother 3 saw 10.7 million text votes and the BBC's Fame Academy logged 6.9 million votes via SMS.

Viewers and listeners are also beginning to use text messaging to get involved in politics and other issues.

During the Iraq war, the BBC World Service was inundated with thousands of text messages as listeners around the world turned to their mobile phones to express their opinions on the conflict.

The text messaging craze shows no signs of abating, reaching an all time high of 1.7 billion messages sent in the UK during the month of March according to the MDA.

Saints and Mums

This represents a daily average of 56 million messages being exchanged across the UK's four mobile networks, double that sent in March last year.

Certain days proved more popular than others with traffic reaching a peak on St Patrick's Day.

The popular Irish saint's day saw over 65 million text messages sent around the UK.

And Mother's Day also saw a surge in traffic, as mums around the country received a mobile greeting on their traditional day off.

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