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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 10:30 GMT
Text message record smashed again
Man text messaging
Text messaging shows no sign of a slowdown
UK mobile owners continue to break records with their text messaging, with latest figures showing that 26 billion texts were sent in total in 2004.

The figures collected by the Mobile Data Association (MDA) showed that 2.4 billion were fired off in December alone, the highest monthly total ever.

That was 26% more than in December 2003. The records even surpassed the MDA's own predictions, it said.

Every day 78 million messages are sent and there are no signs of a slow down.

Before December's bumper text record, the previous highest monthly total was in October 2004, when 2.3 billion were sent.

Text messaging is set to smash more records in 2005 too, said the MDA, with forecasts suggesting a total of 30 billion for the year.

More mobiles, more texts

Even though mobiles are becoming increasingly sophisticated with much more multimedia applications, texting is still one of the most useful functions of mobiles.

People are using SMS to do much more too. Booking cinema tickets, text voting, and news or sports text alerts are growing popular.

Mobile owners have also given the chance to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) Asian Tsunami fund by texting "Donate" to a simple short code number.

Looking further ahead in the year, the MDA's chairman Mike Short, has predicted that more people will go online through their mobiles, estimating 15 billion WAP page impressions.

Handsets with GPRS capability - an "always on" net connection - will rise to 75%, while 3G mobile ownership growing to five million by the end of 2005.

These third generation mobiles offer a high-speed connection which means more data like video can be received on the phone.

Globally, mobile phone sales passed 167 million in the third quarter of 2004, according to a recent report from analysts Gartner.

That was 26% more than the previous year. It is predicted that there would be two billion handsets in use worldwide by the end of 2005.

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