2rite m8 LOL!!!!!1111111 — is a phrase likely to result in you being excommunicated if you were to send it to me in response to one of my hilarious jokes.

If I send a text message it is likely to contain (I hope) perfect grammar and spelling, properly attributed quotes marked clearly with inverted commas, multiple clauses and, if I’m feeling really crazy, semicolons (and I don’t mean in a wink smiley — that doesn’t count).

All this syntax takes up valuable SMS space, which is bad news if it means a simple message ends up busting through the standard 160-character limit and into multiple messages, therefore costing me more.

Fortunately, paying for SMS messages is no longer a necessity for vast numbers of phone users — it was announced recently that, worldwide, OTT (over-the-top) messages now outnumber traditional text messages by a considerable margin. over-the-top means it is outside the network providers’ control Last year, an average of 19.1 billion OTT messages were sent per day, compared to an average of 17.6 billion SMS messages.

Experts forecast that by the end of this year OTT traffic will be double that of SMS.

Popular OTT messaging services include BlackBerry’s BBM, What’s App and Viber. The big advantage of OTT messaging is, of course, that it is free (within a data plan), meaning users can happily spam each other with inane nonsense all day without racking up a huge bill.

This explains why OTT is winning in terms of traffic volume despite having fewer users — 586.3 million compared to 3.5 billion SMS users.

OTT users send an average of 32.6 messages a day, while texters send five messages per day on average.

Another advantage of OTT is that many services allow users to send free picture messages, and some also allow voice calls — particularly useful when on holiday, as long as you have access to free wi-fi.

For: send annoying photos of scorched beaches to miserable friends, family and colleagues at home in dreary England.

Against: Getting pictures of shoes and dresses from your other half while she’s out shopping.

Anyway, my choice is Viber because it is free, provides all the above services and identifies you by your existing mobile phone number.

“And so, my dear friend, that, I believe is something well worth considering, especially in this time of frugality and austerity; I may find myself laughing all the way to the bank.”

2rite m8 LOL.