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A new study by the UK’s leading mobile phone comparison website of more than 2,000 Pay As You Go mobile users has revealed that people wasted up to £286 million over the past year on sending chain text message and has found people’s attitudes towards joke texts.

Research results published today by have revealed the amount mobile phone users spend in an average year on chain text messages and people’s attitudes and reasons for sending chain messages on.

When asked, ‘How many chain texts have you sent in the last year?’ just 12% of the 2,043 respondents said they hadn’t sent any. 36% admitted they had sent between 1 and 50 chain messages and 26% said they forwarded on between 51-100 chain texts.

18% estimated they had sent between 101 and 200 chain text messages and the study by also found that the average chain text is forwarded on to 12 people. Less than 1 in 10, 6%, said they sent between 201 and 500 texts and a keen 2% said they sent more than 500 chain texts in the past year.

There are currently around 50 million mobile phone users in the UK, 52% of which are on pay as you go*. This means that, with the average text message costing 10p, pay as you go phone owners in the UK could have spent as much as £286 million on chain messages in the past year by sending between 1 and 500 chain messages.

Joke texts were also popular according to the study, with 79% of respondents saying they liked to receive them and 2 in 3, 67%, saying they often sent them to friends and family. Of these, 1 in 5 of the respondents, 19%, said the jokes they often sent were mostly celebrity related. Of those who liked to receive joke texts, 37% admitted that they often weren’t the sort of jokes you could tell your mum! questioned the respondents who forwarded on a chain message in the past year, to find out their reasons for doing so. 1 in 3 people, 34%, claimed that superstition had a lot to do with it, admitting that the ‘consequences’ for not sending the text on makes them feel inclined to do so. Chain texts regularly imply something bad will happen if the recipient doesn’t send it on to a certain number of people.

4% of the respondents claimed they sent a chain message with a view to annoying the recipient and, even though the majority said they sent a chain in the last year, 47% admitted to feeling slightly annoyed at receiving them.

Neil McHugh, co-founder of, said,

“We know that billions of text messages are sent every year in the UK, but were particularly interested in finding out how much people spend on chain messages. These kind of texts often have a “consequence” if the recipient doesn’t forward it on, such as bad luck, and it’s quite startling that 34% actually feel pressured to sending a text on due to these false notions.

“Chain messages obviously make up quite a significant proportion of the entire number of texts, especially due to bulk sending and the average number of recipients for one chain being 12. It would be very interesting to see, from start to finish, how many people one chain text actually reaches.”


*52% of mobile phone owners are on PAYG



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For further information or to set up interviews with Neil McHugh or James Zielinski please contact Shannon Haigh , 10 Yetis PR Agency,, 01452 348211.

Notes to editors was launched in November 2007 to help consumers save time and money by providing a trusted comparison platform for customers to purchase from.

The site has become the UK's most comprehensive and user friendly mobile phone comparison engine, with 600,000+ mobile phone offers combined with user friendly consumer reviews, ratings and video.

Users can review and compare over 800 handsets with images, specifications and video with unique users reviews, opinions and ratings provided by handset owners and compare over 2000 + pay as you go offers and tariffs from all major networks.

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