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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"The Post Office says there are still plenty of traditional lovers"
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Wednesday, 14 February, 2001, 08:48 GMT
WUBMV? messages set 2 soar
Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day: Millions will send text messages
The traditional wait for the postman is likely to be supplanted by the bleep of the mobile phone this St Valentine's Day.

Twice as many text messages as cards will be sent as the latest craze for teenagers goes into overdrive.

When the A-level results were released in August, teenagers sent six million messages in one day, but that figure was surpassed on New Year's Eve when 11 million text messages were sent.

This St Valentine's Day will see an estimated 30 million messages sent on the wings of love between mobile phones.

The Post Office expects to deliver 12 million cards by traditional snail mail.

Romantic greetings

Text messaging may even be taking over from 'snail mail' as the preferred method of sending romantic greetings to somebody else.

Text messaging
Text messaging is now the preferred means of communication

A survey carried out by Virgin Mobile reveals that over half of the UK's 24 million mobile phone users (57%) would consider sending a text message (SMS) from their phone rather than a Valentine's card.

Half of all mobile phone users expect a Valentine's text message from a lover and one in four people intend to use text messaging to ask someone out on St Valentine's Day.

Another mobile phone company, Vodafone, has come up with a novel solution for those wishing to send anonymous text messages.

Normally, the sender of a text message comes up after the message but Vodafone can circumvent that with a special service it is providing for Valentine's Day.

A guide to Valentine's Day text messaging
WUBMV?: Will you be my Valentine?
ILUVU: I love you
ImRdy4Luv: I'm ready for love
:'-): I'm so happy, I'm crying
Xoxoxoxoxo: Hugs and kisses
LUWAM<3: Love you with all my heart

Secret admirers will now be able to send text messages and keep the receiver guessing in the old-fashioned way.

The growth in text messaging has been astonishing. In 1999 an average of 500,000 text messages were sent every month; this year that figure will increase a thousand fold with 500 million text messages being sent every month.

It is now the preferred means of communication for Britain's teenagers and a new abbreviations dictionary (or DXNRE) called wan2tlk? has been a bestseller for months.

Valentine's Day will be a boon for all mobile phone companies with text messages costing an average of 12p each.

But companies have also warned of possible delays as the networks try to cope with demand.

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See also:

09 Sep 00 | UK
Text messaging grows up
16 Sep 99 | e-cyclopedia
Txt msging: Th shp of thngs 2 cm?
15 Oct 99 | e-cyclopedia
Txt msging Part 2: The vocab list
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