Almost one in 10 Britons has ended relationship by text messaging
May 4, 2004

LONDON (AP) - Dear John. We're thru :-(

Nine per cent of Britons admit to dumping a partner by sending an SMS, or short message service, from a cellphone - possibly signalling the beginning of the end for the "Dear John" letter - according to a survey published Monday. Among those aged 15 to 24 the figure rises to 20 per cent. Forty-five per cent of women owned up to secretly checking the text messages on their partner's phone compared to 31 per cent of men.

Philippa O'Sullivan, 15, from near Basingstoke in southern England, said using text messages to finish relationships was common among teenagers, many of whom "find it easier to talk by text."

"I've heard of lots of people, including a couple of my friends, being dumped that way," O'Sullivan said.

The NOP poll for Sicap, a messaging services provider based in Bern, Switzerland, also found that 44 per cent had used text messages to flirt; among the 15- to 24-year-olds, the figure rose to 75 per cent.

Some 31 per cent of adults said they had sent a love letter by text - even among the over-65s, nine per cent had done so - and 30 per cent said they had argued via SMS. Two per cent say they have used text messages to quit a job.

Britain's Mobile Data Association announced earlier this year that in March alone, Britons sent 2.1 billion text messages, a 25 per cent increase over the same month last year.

NOP questioned 771 people aged 15 and over from April 23 to 25 for the Sicap poll. No margin of error was given, but on a sample of this size it is likely to be around three percentage points either way.