Boom in text messaging from abroad


10-09-2001

Text messaging from abroad is replacing postcards as the best way of saying Wish You Were Here.

Youngsters in particular are abandoning the traditional pen and paper and letting their fingers do the talking instead.



The added advantage is instant communication - and the certain knowledge that the messages will be received well before travellers return home.



Research by mobile phone stores m-viron suggests UK post offices face a 15 per cent reduction in postcard business as a result of the more modern way of communicating.



M-viron store owner James Lunnon from Royston, Herts said he is receiving an increasing number of inquiries about text messaging from around the world.



'People are beginning to realise the huge benefits of text messaging. It provides those on holiday with a fast, effective and convenient way of communicating with friends and relatives who remain in the UK,' he said.



'Texting saves the hassle and cost of buying and sending postcards and is more economical than phoning.



'As messages are delivered immediately regular updates can be sent and, unlike postcards, they'll get home before you do.'



M-viron, which has 16 stores around the country, asked 1,300 customers whether they intended to text message friends and relatives from abroad.



The results showed that 30 per cent of all mobile users would use their phone to send messages rather than write traditonal postcards.



'About half of those customers had used SMS on last year's holiday and intended to do so again. The other half planned to use the service abroad for the first time,' said account executive Kath Freer.



Text messaging is now available in more than 60 countries including virtually all of the major holiday destinations.



It can also be cheaper than the price of a stamp as messages can be sent from abroad from as little as 6p.



The ability to text message from abroad is now available to almost all mobile phone users.



Vodafone's Pay As You Go customers were first offered the service in May.



Julian Couzens spokesman for Vodafone said: 'Text messaging from abroad is becoming extremely popular.



'It's so much quicker to text than send a postcard. You don't have to go to a shop to buy the postcard and then write it, find a stamp and post it.



'All you do is key in the message and send it - and you know that the person will receive it straight away.'



According to Vodafone's latest figures its 12.5 million customers send a total of nine million text messages a day.



The vast majority are sent within the UK but increasing numbers are from abroad.



by Mila Vucevic