Most mobile deals today come with the enticing promise of unlimited text messages. But it’s becoming apparent that this part of the deal isn’t delivering value for UK consumers.
The rise of mobile messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger, is leading to the slow death of the text message. Data analysis commissioned by insurance provider Row shows that the use of text and picture messages has fallen by almost a third since its peak in 2011.
Yet a survey commissioned by payment support service, TSYS, uncovered that 58% of UK residents use mobile messaging apps. Alongside this, data published in 2014 by communications regulator Ofcom, cited that 42% of Brits stated their main reason for using a mobile phone was to use messaging apps.
WhatsApp’s own data shows that the messaging app reached one billion active users in February 2016, an increase from 700 million in January 2015. As of January this year, WhatsApp became the most popular global mobile messaging app, with the number of users beating out Facebook Messenger (800 million) and Skype (300 million).
Row analysed Ofcom’s data and highlighted that in the 12 months to the end of September 2015 (the most recent data available) UK mobile subscribers sent 102 billion text messages. That equates to an average 1,200 texts for every mobile subscription in the country. But before you tap out OMG* bear in mind that in 2011 Britons sent more than 150 billion texts.
New data from communications network company Cisco states that the average monthly smartphone data traffic in the UK during 2015 was 1.2 GB, an increase from the average of 849MB per month in 2014.
If you’re looking for the best deal on a data led mobile tariff, 3 mobile offers unlimited data, texts and minutes for just £30.00 a month. On the other end of the scale, Vodafone offers 20 GB of data, unlimited texts and minutes for £40.00 a month.
While the text message may be on its way out, Britons are talking for more minutes than ever on their mobiles. Using mobiles is now twice as popular as talking on a landline.
Five years ago the number of mobile minutes was roughly the same as time spent on landlines.
But Row’s analysis of the most recent numbers shows that in the 12 months to the end of September last year, the mobile minutes used have climbed by 15% from 123 billion and landline minutes have dropped by a third from 112 billion when compared to 2011.
Richard Waters, Managing Director at Row, said: “Our analysis of Ofcom’s data shows that the way we use our mobiles is changing rapidly and that mobile devices are becoming increasingly important in our lives.
“Instant messaging apps may have replaced SMS but Brits are still heavily reliant on their phones. We’re continually depending on our mobiles to speak to our friends and family, rather than a home phone. Our mobiles are becoming an ever more precious and essential possession.”
*OMG – oh my God