People in the UK are using text messages and social networks to keep in touch more often than voice communications, a new survey has found.
Research by Ofcom revealed mobile voice calls are in decline for the first time as individuals favour SMS services to contact friends and family.
It is the younger generation that is leading this shift in communication method, the body said, with people aged between 16 and 24 turning most often to text-based options ahead of voice calls.
The average Briton now sends 50 text messages a week, with usage more than doubling over the last four years. In 2011, around 150 billion messages were sent in the UK.
In addition to this, the typical consumer spends more than 90 minutes a week accessing social networks and emails via their mobile device.
Ofcom's report found 96 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds use some form of text-based communication on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and family, with nine out of ten using SMS and almost three-quarters taking advantage of social media sites such as Facebook.
Two-thirds of this age group make mobile calls on a daily basis, while just 63 per cent talk face-to-face.
"These changes in communication habits reflect the rapid increase in ownership of internet-connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones – making access to web-based communications easier," Ofcom said.
Almost four out of ten adults (39 per cent) now own a smartphone, a 12 percentage point increase since 2010. 42 per cent of people added their handset is now the most important device for getting online, with the amount of time spent accessing the web via mobile up by a quarter compared with last year.
The study also found more than half of voice calls in the UK were made via a mobile device for the first time in 2011, while the cost of making a call from a mobile fell to roughly the same as fixed-line services.
Use our ATM locator to find out where you can make an Orange top up and add phone credit to your device.