Teen sends 8,000 texts a month

By Patrick Crewdson

Robert Vavey might just be the country's most prolific texter.

The 17-year-old Christchurch sales assistant sends a staggering 8000 text messages a month - an average of one every four minutes every waking hour.

Friends tell him he relies on his cellphone too much, but he calls text messaging "the way of the future".

And these days he is positively restrained compared to how prolific he was last year, when Telecom's unlimited $10 text plan saw him fire out more than 15,000 texts a month.

Following the huge growth in the mobile market since 2000, Telecom and Vodafone between them now have more than 3.2 million cellphone customers between them.

The daily volume of text messages varies greatly, but on an average day easily more than 10 million texts could be flying over the networks.

On holidays such as Christmas the tally rockets to as many as 24 million.

For Mr Vavey, who spends around $280 a month on his mobile account, the appeal of texting is simple: it's the convenience.

"If you're out and about in town you can just text your mate and meet up with them.

"Text the girlfriend, all that sort of carry on," he says. "It's better than talking on the phone. It's a lot easier."

It's a similar story for 29-year-old Palmerston North bar manager Brad Lucas, whose 4200 text messages last month put him near the top of Vodafone's customer roster.

Mr Lucas says his monthly total is usually a more sedate 2500, but on top of the texting he also chews through more than 750 free voice minutes each month.

For Mr Lucas, who bought his first cellphone eight years ago, the appeal of texting is the way he can convey information without the need for a drawn-out conversation.

"There's no ifs, buts or maybes, just 'that's what you need to know' and the job is done."

- HERALD ON SUNDAY

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