Another New Year, More SMS Delivery Problems

from the do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do dept

While the mobile industry moves forward with all sorts of fancy new networks and products, some of the old stuff might still need some work. For instance, the delivery of SMS messages can be a problem, particularly when lots of people are sending them -- leading to stories at the beginning of every year about delayed or missing New Year's greetings. This year, British operator O2 appears to be the laughing stock. It sent out a message encouraging its subscribers to send their Happy New Year messages early, so they wouldn't get caught in the midnight rush -- only for that promotional message to get delayed by several hours. Perhaps the episode will illustrate to O2 that rather than only try to spread out the burden of high-volume events over a longer timeframe, it needs to increase its capacity as well.

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  1. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, 3 Jan 2007 @ 11:40am

    resource sharing agreements

    Queueing/capacity theory is a bitch. To my knowledge the best you can get is a square law - which is an ugly obstacle in business. The networks could add massive new capacity that would be redundant for most of the time, just to handle the occasional peaks that happen once or twice a year for major events or emergencies. It wouldn't be economical.

    This overlaps with three other debates, network neutrality, network integration (comon carriers) and private/free market vs state/national infrastructure. Because collectively the networks have enough capacity to handle huge peak traffic bursts, but one assumes they do not share out their resources properly. The story deals with the failure of one network, O2, but if the SMS networks were properly interoperable with rapid dynamic bandwidth purchasing ability in place for the networks to trade their pipes and resources the problem would vanish.

    In other words, it's not necessarily the problem that there aren't enough resources out there to go round, but rather that the individual operators won't play nice with each other and cut off all their noses through mutual spite.

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