An astounding 6.17 billion text messages were sent in the UK during 2000, reveals research conducted by the Mobile Data Association (MDA). This is an increase of more than 175 percent on 1999.

Over 750m text messages were sent throughout the UK during December 2000 alone, 12 percent more than in November. This compares to 271m in December 1999.

The rise in SMS messages can in part be attributed to the festive season, with mobile phones being one of the most popular gifts.

On Christmas and New Year's Day mobile telcos saw a record increase of 30 percent in the number of text messages sent. In fact, service providers had to work hard to meet the demand.

Mobile telco Orange had 14m messages sent over its network on New Year's Eve. But all messages did get through “even if the network took longer [than usual] to deliver them”, said Christopher King for Orange.

Other companies such as Vodafone also claimed to have had few problems. 11m messages were sent over New Years Eve and New Years Day. “We were operating well below our full capacity,” boasted a spokesperson for Vodafone.

Vodafone claims its networks were busy for the first ten minutes of New Year's Day, but only those text messages sent to people on other networks suffered delay.
“The networks were quite busy, but no more so than expected,” said Vodafone’s spokesperson. “Some people did suffer short delays but it was only a matter of minutes.”

Although the Service providers claim they experienced very few problems, many New Years Eve revelers who unsuccessfully tried to send messages may disagree.