WE MIGHT be glued to our phones, but we are no longer texting, with the number of SMS messages sent in Ireland in 2013 down by 28pc compared to the previous year.
The latest figures from the Communications Regulator (ComReg) reveal that three billion texts were sent between October and December, 2012, but that figure nosedived to 2.1 billion for the same period last year.
But it is not that we are cutting back on communicating. Rather, we are changing how we chat, as the new figures show data use increased by nearly 50pc in 2013, indicating that people have switched to Whats-App, Viber, Snapchat and iMessage for their messaging.
In the last three months of 2013, the country used 12,273 terabytes of data, an increase of 43.7pc on 2012. With the steady growth of smartphone sales, many Irish people are now availing of the free data-based messaging services. The figures for the number of texts sent means that approximately 440 texts were sent per mobile in Ireland for the last three months of 2013. The country's whopper data usage would have had the ability to load the Facebook homepage 10 billion times.
As well as using more data, Irish people are talking on the phone more, with voice minutes at their highest since 2009. We spent 2.8 million minutes talking on our mobiles from October to December 2013.
Messaging revenues for the phone companies did fall with the huge decline in SMS sending, with a drop of 12.3pc in earnings. We made more calls and used more data than ever before, but that increased revenues by only 1.5pc. The massive increase in data gave a revenue increase of only 0.1pc.
It comes as no surprise that iMessage and WhatsApp are becoming the messaging services of choice, with people able to send endless group chats for free once they are in a wi-fi zone.
This ties up with Facebook's big buyout of WhatsApp last month. WhatsApp, which had a staff of only 17, was bought for $19bn (€13.65bn).