WASHINGTON DC: US cellphone users are finally getting to grips with SMS messaging according to the latest figures from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.

The data reveal that a total of 48.7 billion text messages were sent in the last six months of 2005, up 50% from 32.5bn in the first six months of last year.

Around 40% of the 200 million-plus cellphone subscribers in the US now use text messaging, an increase from 25% in 2003 but still far behind the 60%+ penetration rates in Europe.

Jim Ryan, vp at telco Cingular Wireless, says texting has been slower in the US because the economics of it were not as compelling as elsewhere and because early adopters had greater access to mobile email devices.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff