Outgoing text messages in the United Kingdom (UK) 2012-2018 per subscriber

The number of SMS and MMS messages sent in the United Kingdom (UK) fell to 74 billion in 2018, from a peak of 162 billion in 2012.

The rise of messaging apps

The fall in the number of SMS and MMS messages sent over mobile networks in the UK, coincides with a surge in popularity of apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Globally, WhatsApp added 1.3 billion monthly active users from April 2013 to December 2017, replacing the need for sending SMS messages for many users. WhatsApp has enjoyed more success in some countries than others, with 31 percent of the French population estimated to be WhatsApp users, compared with 75 percent of the German population.

SMS revenue drying up

   The dethroning SMS and MMS by messaging apps has put a serious crimp in the revenue streams these services once generated for telecommunications providers. During the second quarter of 2012 SMS and MMS generated revenues worth 607 million British pounds for UK telecommunications companies. This revenue has taken a beating in the intervening years, falling to just 159 million British pounds per quarter by the fourth quarter of 2017. Annually, there was a 1.9 billion British pound reduction in revenue generated from SMS and MMS messages from 2011 to 2017.

Monthly SMS and MMS messages sent in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2012 to 2018

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Release date

July 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2012 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Figures for years previous to 2009 published earlier by the source.

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