There has been a massive increase in the number of text messages sent by mobile phone in Switzerland, according to the three mobile phone operators - Swisscom, Orange and diAx/Sunrise.
The largest operator, Swisscom, said on Friday it had transmitted 16.3 million short text messages - or SMS - between December 31 and January 1. The volume of messages over the New Year period was so high that the system became overloaded.
Orange and diAx/Sunrise reported that they had handled 1.5 million messages each over New Year.
Swisscom said that on average five million SMS messages are sent every day using Swisscom Mobile. That's double the previous figure of 2.5 million reported by Swisscom.
According to Swisscom, mobile phones are becoming more and more popular among the Swiss. The company said it acquired 886,000 new mobile customers in 2000, an increase of 39 per cent on the previous year.
Swisscom Mobile now has more than three million customers.
Orange also reported a large increase in customers. It said the number had jumped from 300,000 in 1999 to 800,000 last year.
swissinfo with agencies