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Voice calls falter

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Interactive telly shows such as Big Brother have led to an explosion in the number of premium rate text messages being sent and received in the UK.

At the same time, the number of premium rate voice telephone minutes being spent on adult services, tele-voting and weather information, for example, are on the decline.

As a result, UK-based research outfit Teligen predicts that premium rate text messages will overtake conventional premium rate voice calls by summer next year.

Of course, while there has been a steady month-on-month increase in paid-for text services, complaints about dodgy services have also been on the rise.

In particular, the number of complaints about rogue text message jumped eightfold in 2002 to more than 1,200 although premium rate services regulator, ICSTIS, reckons this is "just the tip of an iceberg of dissatisfaction".

Overall, more than 1.5 billion text messages were sent in the UK during April - that's 6.5 billion for the year so far, according to the Mobile Data Association (MDA). ®

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