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The new NOP research reveals:
• 96% of 16-24 year olds regularly send text messages
• 85% of boys say they are great communicators
• Over half of boys use text for dating and dumping (51%)
• Girls send more texts than boys (97% vs. 93%)
• 16-24 year olds are more likely to text friends than lovers
•Young people would love to text Ant & Dec and Beyonce Knowles

London, 3 June 2004. With over 20 million* text messages being sent by 16-24 year olds between Monday to Friday each week - and figures reaching almost 10 million at the weekend - it seems that young people in the UK are finding that text messaging is contributing to, rather than killing, the art of conversation.

In a recent NOP survey commissioned by Orange, 96% of respondents felt they would rather give up their friends, family and partners at the weekend than their mobile phones. Text is increasingly popular as an outlet for young people’s self expression and the number of texts alone sent by 16-24 year old Orange customers each month is 144 million.

Orange’s latest offer of Free Weekend Texts comes in response to the fact that increasing numbers of young people simply can’t get through the weekend without communicating by text. Weekends in particular are when 16-24 year olds feel free to express themselves and far from lagging behind the older generations they are actually better all-round communicators. Young people have sussed that text is a hassle-free way of talking to their peers and elders, allowing them to text straight to the point!

The new research reveals that gender defines young people’s text and lifestyle habits. It seems that text has made men great communicators in both love and life and 85% of admit that they are more communicative on the weekend, compared to 77% of women.

With a love of text, romance is high on the agenda for this new breed of text Casanovas. The research reveals that 16-24 year old boys are four times more likely to text prospective dates on the weekend than girls and 15% admit to sending sizzling texts to hot dates, compared to only 3% of girls. A third of 16-24 year old boys also admit to going on a first date on the weekend - compared to 20% of girls - and nearly twice as many men reveal that weekends are the time to go out on the pull!

80% of 16-24 year olds find that they feel sexier on the weekend and even as technology advances, old phrases still ring true for text daters with one in three men resorting to the tried and tested line “Would you like to go for a drink sometime?” When text dumping, 20% of women still use the old classic “I don’t think we should see each other any more.”

It also makes a difference where you are in the UK as to how you conduct your text life. Head North and you will find that romance isn’t dead, with 40% of people in Tyne Tees, texting about relationships and hot dates. Don’t expect a risqué text on the weekend if you live in Scotland however, with only 14% plucking up the courage to ask someone out by text. And, beware if your girlfriend or boyfriend is from the West Country – while only 14% will be texting you, 43% will be sending texts to old flames!

Londoners don’t look back when it comes to romance, with only 3% texting old flames on the weekend and almost two thirds dumping a partner by text during the week - leaving the weekend free to find someone new. Those in the South are more faithful, with a dedicated 67% sending a text to their partners on the weekend, compared to only 35% texting their friends.

The research suggests that 16-24 year olds don’t only have romance on their minds. Brotherly love is big in the North with more Scots sending texts to their siblings at the weekend than any other Brits (20%). 35% also admit to not being able to get through the weekend without their family.

Friends are top of the text list for the people of Anglia, who send almost double the amount of texts to friends than to boyfriends and girlfriends. And those in the South really do have text on the brain with 50% throwing caution to the wind and sending risqué texts to whoever takes their fancy.

When it comes to chatting up celebs by text, Ant & Dec (35%) and Beyonce Knowles (45%) would be 16-24 year olds’ sexy text buddies. Peter Andre (8%) and Jordan (20%) shouldn’t bother charging their phones however as they are the least attractive to the opposite text!

Leslie Sinoway, youth consultant for Orange, said: “The figures indicate that young people are more communicative than ever before. A generation of text maniacs, 85% of 16-24 year olds also reveal that their computers, videos and TVs are switched on at the weekend – ensuring that they can simultaneously absorb information and communicate in the fast moving world they inhabit.”

The Orange Free Weekend Texts offer has been extended to September 2004 and is open to customers who buy a PAYG phone for £69 or more from Orange stockists. Orange Free Weekend Text customers will receive 500 free texts to use between 7 pm on Friday until 7 am on Monday. The free weekend text messages offer is the first in a line of soon to be unveiled new services and offers targeting the Orange pay-as-you-go customer.

ENDS
Ref: Orange WeekDAY to WeekEND NOP survey (May 2004) and Orange UK data

Ali O’Neill, Ketchum Life, T: 020 7611 3610, M: 07813 683 599 - alison.oneill@ketchum.com

Luci McQuitty, Orange Media Centre, T: 07971 865 802, luci.mcquitty@orange.co.uk

Notes To Editors

About Orange Free Weekend Texts offer

The free weekend text messages promotion applies to all customers purchasing a handset costing over £69 and connecting to Orange on pay as you go between 1 April 2004 and 30 June 2004 inclusive.

In order to be eligible for the free weekend text promotion, the SIM Card accompanying the new handset must be registered within the Eligibility Period.

The Promotion applies to new connections and upgrades only. The Promotion is subject, at all times, to a fair usage policy of 500 text messages per weekend. For the purposes of the Promotion, weekend will be defined as 7pm Friday until 7am Monday.

The free text messages can be used to send standard person-to-person text messages to any UK mobile phone network, while the customer is in the UK.

About PAYG

Orange already has a range of products and services that support and benefit pay-as-you-go customers:

• Text Saver gives pay-as-you-go customers five inclusive text messages per day.
• Low-cost Top-ups – Top-up swipe cards start from £5
• Memory Mate – free download of phone numbers to a memory stick so customers never risk losing their contacts. (Available to all Orange customers)
• Free Reserve Calls – a unique calls system, whereby customers can make two-30 seconds calls on their pay-as-you-go mobile even once the credit has run out.

About Orange

Orange and wirefree are trademarks of Orange Personal Communications Services Limited. The Orange group is one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies, with operations in 19 countries across Europe and beyond. It provides a broad range of personal communications services, including Orange GSM1800 services and other digital cellular telephone services.

The Orange brand operates in the UK, France, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Thailand, the Ivory Coast, the Dominican Republic, Cameroon, the Netherlands, Botswana and Madagascar. The Orange group also has controlled operations in Belgium (Mobistar). The Orange group has a joint controlling interest in Egypt (MobiNil) and minority interests in Portugal (Optimus), Austria (One), and Mumbai/India (BPL Mobile).

As at the end of December 2003, Orange was the largest mobile operator in both the UK with 13.6 million active customers, and France with over 20 million registered customers. As at the end of December 2003, Orange controlled companies had over 49 million customers worldwide. Further information about Orange can be found on the Orange website at www.orange.com.

Published on: 12:00AM on 3rd June 2004