Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first text message being sent to a mobile phone.

Engineer Neil Papworth was 22 when he sent the first SMS (Short Messaging Service) from his computer to a friend's Orbitel 901 mobile phone, on 3 December 1992.

The message read "Merry Christmas".

Irish people are amongst the biggest “texters” in the world. According to ComReg, on average, over a billion text messages were sent every month in the first six months of this year.

Texting is now a more popular method of communication in Ireland than making a phone call.

The most frequent texters in Britain are 12-15 year olds, who send an average of 193 texts a week - almost four times as many as the population as a whole.

In a recent interview, Mr Papworth said he did not realise that text messaging would become such a big thing.

Mr Papworth said he was working for the technology company Sema at the time, as part of the team developing a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) for its client Vodafone UK.

But, according to Ofcom, the first half of 2012 has seen a drop in the number of texts being sent.

This is thought to be down to the increase in internet-based communications, such as Blackberry Messenger (BBM), iMessenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger.

Many of these services are freely available on smartphones and tablets.

People are also thought to be increasingly using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with each other instead of sending texts.