Rogers Communications has added new functionalities to its texting service that mirror e-mail capabilities.

Rogers said its Extreme Text Messaging service was the first of its kind in North America. The service, which is free to Rogers’ customers with existing text bundles, allows subscribers to personalize their texting by adding signatures, creating distribution lists, and blocking and forwarding texts.

Rogers said it saw the demand for its new service as the number of person-to-person text messages sent continued to increase in Canada. According to a recent study by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, 35.3 billion text messages were sent in 2009, an increase of 70 percent over 2008.

"People want to stay connected with their friends and family, any time, any place, and texting is on the rise, as is the personalization of communications," said Raj Doshi, vice president of mobile product management at Rogers. "The Rogers Extreme Text Messaging service is designed to help make texting more personal by bringing new individualized features to our customers' plans and making the experience as easy to use as e-mail."

Research conducted for Rogers by Harris/Decima found that 63 percent of text messaging enthusiasts use it to send quick bits of information to friends and family, and about half indicated that they use text messaging to stay in touch with friends (59 percent) and/or family (49 percent).

The survey also found that 65 percent of text messaging users wanted to do more with their text messaging services. More than one-third (35 percent) of respondents wished they could block text messages from certain numbers.

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