Scandinavian posties are using mobile phones to lick the problem of buying stamps. Denmark and Sweden are introducing a system of paying Postman Per via text.
Danish service Post Danmark and Swedish postal service Posten AB are adopting the high-tech system to make it easier to post letters, packages and cards.
It'll work by sending you a code to write on your letter. Danes simply stick the letter, card or parcel -- up to 50g -- in an envelope, as normal, then text-message the word 'porto' to the number 1900, and in return receive a unique code that you write where you would previously have stuck a stamp. Then pop it in a postbox as normal.
Postage costs 8 Danish kroner (92p), the same as a first-class stamp. At launch, you'll need a subscription with a phone network, but pre-paid accounts should follow.
The code is read by sorting machines just like a normal stamp, which Sorting Office Sigrid reckons will ensure you haven't just written any old numbers on your missive.
Denmark is launching SMS stamps on 1 April, with Sweden to follow later this year. Germany has had a similar system for a couple of years, but the text-message codes are more expensive than normal stamps.
Packages and parcels will always be necessary to send real items, but what about letters? When was the last time you sent a letter? Have text messages, PayPal payments, emails and e-cards replaced love letters, cheques, complaint letters and greetings cards in your life? Answers on a postcard to the usual address -- in the comments or on our Facebook wall.