A summary of findings: A significantly wider variety of data usage has driven overall growth figures in 2007. SMS growth remained strong but a combination of static and video messages and Internet usage has resulted in the following key statistics:
2007 annual figures
Text Messaging (SMS) total = 56,922,541,647
Picture Messaging (MMS) total = 448,962,359
Mobile Internet (MI) total users = 17,589,351
All three key indicators surged in December:
SMS volumes rose from 5.3 billion to 6 billion
MMS from 37.8 million in October to 57.6 m in December
MI users from 16.2 m to 17.58 m
290,334,846 text messages were sent on New Years Eve, 30% more than New Years Eve 2006
1,977,308 video and picture messages were sent on New Years Eve 2007
From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day 6,466,506 video and picture messages were sent
Mobile Internet (MI)
17 million people accessed the Internet on their phone in December. This equates to 23% of mobile users in UK
Text Messaging (SMS)
6 billion text messages were sent in December 2007 - almost 5,000 every second
40% year on year growth in SMS volumes
Picture Messaging (MMS)
This is the first ever aggregation of MMS statistics from UK mobile operators and provides a clear indication of the interest UK consumers have in snapping and sending picture and video messages. Camera phones have been available in the UK market for around five years, and unlike text messaging, not all UK handsets have picture and video capabilities enabled; this makes the headline statistics even more compelling and suggests significant MMS data growth as picture and video camera phone penetration increases. The only viable benchmark that can be applied to assess MMS growth is the explosion of text messaging, which the MDA has been tracking for nine years. It took six years for text messaging to reach the 1 billion per year mark. MMS has today, after only five years and 50% penetration of camera phones, achieved 50% of this target already.
The MDA sees these statistics as a powerful indication and foundation for even further MMS growth in 2008 based on the ease of use to snap and send.
MMS headline statistics
55% growth of MMS messages sent in December 2007 (32 million sent in December 2006 Vs 58 million sent in December 2007)
448,962,359 MMS picture messages sent in 2007, the equivalent of 19 million traditional (24 exposure) rolls of camera film
Mike Short is Chairman of the Mobile Data Association.
Speaking about the key findings of the Q1 2008 Mobile Report he said:
"The report contains some very compelling indications that mobile usage is evolving. While the strong upward curve of SMS volumes continues, perhaps a more telling headline number is the penetration of mobile Internet usage and multi-media messaging (MMS). We are really starting to see a much greater variety of mobile data volumes. New devices, competitive data tariffs and wider content choice mean it has never been easier for users to send an email, take a picture or access Internet content. This is a very important set of indicators."
Speaking about the launch of the Q1 2008 UK Mobile Report he said:
"Within the mobile industry there remains a sustained hunger for market data and industry intelligence. Mobile Data Association members benefit from our unique ability to aggregate data from all mobile operators. Like economic forecasting, the data provides the clues and indicators to new directions and growth areas. This quarterly benchmark report, the statistics and forecasts contained within provide a good indication for mobile trends in the coming year."
Speaking about general mobile industry growth he said:
"The mobile industry remains one of the fastest growing sectors throughout the world. Whether you look at Asia, India, Europe or the UK, the story is the same; mobile technology is enhancing and even shaping the way we live our daily lives."
The UK Mobile Report - Q1 2008 statistics in full
Total in 2007: 57 billion (2006 42 billion)
December: 6,077,828,808 (Dec 2006 3.795 billion)
December - first time over 6 billion in a single month
Number of Mobile Originated text messages in the UK
Picture Messaging (MMS) (This is the first year of measuring)
Total in 2007: 448.96 million
December: 57.62 million
Number of Mobile Originated picture messages in the UK including still and video messages
Mobile Internet (MI)
December: 17.59 million (Dec 2006 15.90 million)
Number of unique users accessing the Internet via a mobile device on UK networks
All three results surged in December:
SMS from 5.3 billion to 6 billion
MMS from 37.8 million to 57.6 million
MI users from 16.2 million to 17.59 million