It’s around 15 years since BT’s infamous ‘it’s good to talk’ adverts but the telecom market has changed irrevocably in the UK, to the point that today’s mobile phone owners are more inclined to send text messages than make a call, a report from Ofcom has found.

Data from the UK communications industry regulator, captured last year, found that 58 percent of Brits sent text messages each day. That’s some way ahead of the preference for making calls – which just 47 percent of those included in the research did on a daily basis.

While these stats may sound obvious to even the most vaguely tech savvy readers, it’s worth bearing in mind that the figures account for a range of different demographics and ages, and show that calling habits are changing across the population.

The change in communication is being driven by the growth of smartphones, and Ofcom found that more than one quarter of adults (27 per cent) and close to half of teenagers (47 per cent) now own one.

Smartphones are also impacting the way mobile users get online. Of those included in the study, 42 percent regard their smartphone as the primary device for accessing the Web. When surfing the mobile Web social networking is (unsurprisingly) a regular activity for 42 percent of users, but email reigns supreme as an activity for more than half (51 percent.)

Spending time on Facebook, Twitter and other sites accounted for an average of 90 minutes of British consumers’ time each week, while the equivalent of 5 text messages per person are sent each day.

Ofcom found that ownership of tablet devices grew from 2 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2011. That number could rise further still with the arrival of the $199 Google Nexus 7, more competition from Microsoft Surface and a rumoured 7-inch iPad all on the way.

Given the increase in Web-enabled devices, it is distinctly possibility the next report will find that Internet usage, and perhaps even social networking, is more used than calling on mobile phones.

For posterity’s sake, here’s one of the infamous BT adverts – set in a time when few had mobile phones.

It’s fair to say that Facebook and text messages have taken over when it comes to organising birthdays, and in fact, it’s the main medium for actually sending congratulations for many of us today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIuDEjON_zw

Image via Flickr / Johan Larsson, hat-tip BBC News