Phone Text Messages Growing in Popularity

July 9, 2004

COSTA Ricans on average send 3.4million cell phone text messages eachday, according to the Costa RicanElectricity and Telecom Institute (ICE),the daily La Nación reported.Text messages are short messages ofup to 160 characters that are typed intocell phones using the number/letter keysand then sent to other cell phone users.According to ICE, text messaging is especiallypopular among young users.On average, each of Costa Rica’sapproximately 800,000 cell phone userssends 4.1 messages each day.The increase in the number of peopleusing text messages is part of a worldwidetrend, according to ClaudioBermúdez, acting sub-manager oftelecommunications for ICE. He cited thelow cost of text messaging as the mainreason behind its popularity.Text messages cost ¢1.5 to send. Cellphone calls cost between ¢23 ($0.06) and¢30 ($0.07) per minute.Text messaging generates 1.5% ofICE’s cell phone revenues, or about ¢4 million($9,000) a day. This amount is lowcompared to international telephone operators.Text messages generate approximately15% of European cell phone revenues,according to Bermúdez.

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