Happy Bday SMS! Txts turn 20 2day but less msgs being sent

TWENTY years ago today the first text message – “Merry Christmas” – was sent.

The greeting was sent by Neil Papworth, an engineer working for Sema Group in the UK and a member of a team developing SMS software for Vodafone.

Today, upwards of seven trillion text messages are sent every year, more than 200,000 per second. The average Brit sends 50 per week, while that number rises to 193 for teenagers.

But according to Ofcom, the number of SMS – short message service – texts being sent is in decline, as other services like Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging have become popular.

Figures show the number of text messages sent in Britain dropped from 39.7bn at the end of last year, to the latest figure of 38.5bn, following two quarterly declines.

Despite the fall, Ofcom this year reported that 58 per cent of Brits use text messages daily to stay in touch with family and friends.