Each year Ofcom (the independent regulator for UK telecommunications industry) publishes statistics for the different forms of communications used across the UK. (Interestingly these are released on the same day as the annual statistics at the Office of National Statistics). These show top-level comparisons over the past two years for each communication type. The 2013/14 facts and figure were released on 6th August 2015 showing a comparison of 2014 to 2013 data.
There has been a significant reduction in levels of SMS and MMS messages sent per person. In 2013 the average number of messages sent per month was 138, reducing by 21 per person in 2014. This can be explained in part by the rapid uptake of 4G subscriptions up from 2.7 to 23.6 million, using messaging services over the 4G network such as ‘Whats App’.
Digging a little deeper on the Ofcom data, revealed additional information over the previous 6 years. This helps to show the trends for the UK population more clearly:
The following table breaks down the annual figures between pre-paid and post-paid mobile users:
The media often publishes this information and talks of the decline of SMS and MMS messaging. What the statistics clearly show is that 93% of the population own/use a mobile phone in the UK, and using these handsets billions of messages are still sent each year. If the trend in the UK continues and devices still provide the facility for sending and more importantly receiving messages, then SMS / MMS becomes a more effective communications vehicle. As fewer SMS / MMS are sent, the messages become more significant and more likely to be opened and read.