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More than a million texts have been sent so far by music fans eager to win tickets for next month's Live 8 gig in London's Hyde Park.

On current numbers, organisers of the poverty awareness concert predict they will have received up to 1.5m texts by midnight tonight.

In a statement issued this afternoon organisers said: "All of the systems were able to meet the demand and at its peak we received a total of 611 messages per second." The concert - featuring top names including Paul McCartney, Elton John, U2 and Madonna - is part of Bob Geldof's ongoing campaign to eradicate poverty in Africa.

The question giving punters the chance to win tickets for the gig was only revealed at 8am this morning and within hours had racked up a million entries. The ticket lottery closes at midnight on 12 June giving some 70,000 punters the chance to win a pair of tickets to the concert.

Texts to the competition cost £1.50 and this money is to be donated to Live 8. But O2 - which is Live 8's "overall technology partner" - has been criticised for failing to waive its 10p-a-message admin fee for sending texts.

The Evening Standard even quotes one MP as describing O2's actions as "disgraceful".

But the mobile phone outfit has rejected the report - which suggested it could make as much as £7m from the text-in - insisting that it will not make a penny from the event.

A spokeswoman for O2 told us: "We are making no money whatsoever from this exercise. We estimate our total net contribution to the event will be between £250,000 and £500,000.®

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