UK falls out of love with the SMS as numbers fall for the first time

UK falls out of love with the SMS as numbers fall for the first time
Get on the what's up, try out a bit of snaptalk why don't you

They've had a good innings, but the British sent 7 billion fewer text messages last year than than the year before, marking the text message's first fall in use since the format was invented.

That doesn't mean we're chatting less though, with WhatsApp, Snapchat, BBM, iMessage, Facebook Messenger and even Twitter taking the SMS's business. The number of IMs sent in 2013 leapt up to 160 billion from 57 billion in 2012.

Deloitte, whose research foretold the decline, thinks it's only going to get worse for the SMS but that we'll continue to send more and more messages through other means.

Text time

The firm says that we sent 145bn text messages last year, and thinks that will fall further to 140bn in 2014. But Deloitte estimates that 300bn instant messages will be sent in 2014 - meaning that 160bn will be app-based chat.

Instant messaging is set to be the biggest communication tool on your phone, if Deloitte's right. It thinks that IM services will "supercede text messages and all other forms of communication, including email and phone calls."

Deloitte's head of telecoms research, Paul Lee, told The Guardian: "This is the first decline in texting in the UK since texting was invented. We have reached a tipping point. But the usage of mobile phones to send messages is stronger than ever."

The trusty old text message isn't going anywhere though - and it's the older generations that are keeping the SMS alive.

Deloitte's research suggests that only 13% of older smartphone users used instant messaging last year - which is no real surprise when the prediction is that a quarter of senior citizens will not even download a single app in 2014.

News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.