Brits send 11 million text messages an hour

UK mobile phone users sent getting on for 100 billion text messages during 2009.

The population churned out a daily average of 265 million text messages and illustrated some with a total of 1.6 million picture messages.

Four and a half million picture messages were sent on Christmas Day itself, according to The Mobile Data Association's latest figures, which also show picture messaging increase during snowy periods.

The MDA's aggregated statistics from each of the UK’s Mobile Network Operators show a text message grand total of 96.8 billion for the year ended December 31st 2009. Picture messaging was up to more than 600 million.

Touchscreen handsets and the bundling of SMS messages into many tariffs has made texting easier, and seen its role develop, according to Rob Bamforth, an analyst at Quocirca.

"Now it is not only a convenient medium for a quick chat with friends, but also a way of participating in television voting and raising funds for needy charities. When a powerful call to action is given, the population of the UK often turn first towards their mobile phones.”

Steve Reynolds, MDA Chairman, said a seemingly relentless tide of status updates, tweets and pokes had deepened "the UK population’s love affair with mobile messaging for instant, on-the-go communication.”

The total texts sent in the UK of 96.8 billion was up from 78.9 billion in 2008, a 23 per cent increase. MMS messaging was up nine per cent at 1.6 million per day.

By contast, the average American teenager sends 3,146 text messages a month, according to the latest research from Nielsen.