Phone calls are becoming a thing of the past as new research shows many Britons would rather send a text message instead
- One in four of us make fewer than five mobile calls a month, according to Ofcom
- A study found people typing using two thumbs can hit 38 words per minute
- Number of minutes nation spends on landline calls has halved in just six years
Smartphones may have become a constant fixture in our lives, but now many Britons have stopped making ‘daunting’ voice calls – and rely on messaging services such as WhatsApp instead.
One in four of us make fewer than five mobile calls a month, and one in 17 – six per cent – make none at all, according to research used by the telecoms industry regulator Ofcom.
The figures follow previous studies which found that young people, in particular, find making voice calls difficult – which suggests the use of landline and mobile phones for an old-fashioned chinwag will fall further.
Smartphones may have become a constant fixture in our lives, but now many Britons have stopped making ‘daunting’ voice calls (stock photo)
The rise of smartphones and social media suggests young people find it quicker and easier to ‘chat’ via text message – using abbreviations such as ‘txt’ for ‘text’, ‘u’ for ‘you’ and ‘l8r’ for ‘later’ to save time.
A study published last week found people typing on smartphones using a two-thumb technique can hit a blistering 38 words per minute.
And an Ofcom survey on landline use earlier this year found the number of minutes the nation spends on such calls had halved in just six years – down from a total of 103billion in 2012 to 54billion in 2017.
But there was a ten-fold surge in the average person’s monthly mobile data use, which covers messaging via texts, apps such as WhatsApp and emails, over the same period – taking it up to 1.9 gigabytes.
The rise of smartphones and social media suggests young people find it quicker and easier to ‘chat’ via text message (stock photo)
Ofcom’s Mobile Matters report analysed how 150,000 people used their Android phone between January and March and found that even when people make calls, they tend to be very short.
Chatty Liverpudlians made the longest calls, with the average one lasting six minutes and 51 seconds. This was 40 per cent longer than Londoners, who were in second place on four minutes 49 seconds. The shortest calls were in Bradford at an average of three minutes and 15 seconds.
A spokesman said: ‘Overall, the number of minutes people spend on mobile calls has risen steadily in recent years.
‘But Ofcom’s previous studies have also showed that younger people find making calls daunting, and prefer to use messaging services such as WhatsApp.
‘And our new research reveals a quarter of people made less than five mobile calls a month, with 6 per cent of people not making any standard mobile calls at all. Of those who did pick up the phone, almost two-thirds ended the call in less than 90 seconds.’