Textual intercourse surges over holiday period

Both Vodafone and Telecom experienced Christmas cheer this season with massive upsurges in the use of text messaging and photo messaging.

Both Vodafone and Telecom experienced Christmas cheer this season with massive upsurges in the use of text messaging and photo messaging.

Telecom's $10 a month cap on text messaging seems to be paying off. Christmas Day saw 4 million text messages sent from both 025- and 027- prefix Telecom mobiles with around 3.5 million sent on New Year's Day. That's up from a typical usage level of around 3 million.

Vodafone typically sees around 2.4 million text messages a day, up from around 1.3 million a year ago. Over the Christmas break, however, message loads increased even more. New Year's Eve saw the the number of messages peak at 3.8 million, up from 2.2 million the year before. New Year's Day hangovers clearly drove the masses to a quieter form of communication and they sent 4.2 million messages, up from 2.5 million. But the largest number were sent on Christmas Day with 4.8 million messages flying through the ether. Christmas Day 2002 saw only 3 million messages.

"That's up from our 1999 figure of around 60,000 a day," says Vodafone communications manager Louise Hall.

Vodafone New Zealand won't say how many PXT messages were sent over its network during the summer break, except to say it's "increased tenfold" since the introduction of its free PXT messaging campaign. PXT messages are free to Vodafone users until March this year.

Hall says sales of PXT capable phones have also been increasing during the year.

"Users seem far more willing to buy the more highly-featured phones".

Wireless network traffic in Wellington also went through the roof - CityLink's CafeNet is reporting it shifted 25 GB of data over December, mostly at the weekends.

Marketing manager Damian Fahey puts it down to the free weekend use promotion that ran in December.

"CafeNet's free weekends in December were also very well supported with over 50% of the months traffic being generated during this time".

Usage increased fourfold over the November figures and Fahey says the promotion will be repeated later in the year.

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