Valentine’s Day in November

Did you receive a confusing text in the middle of the night?

Have you recently received a text message which seemed irrelevant or completely out-of-context? Then you might be one of the many bewildered people left scratching their heads when unsent messages were read nearly nine months after they had been initially dispatched. Here at The Fix Hut, many of our employees and customers have also received SMS texts in the early morning hours of November 7th. It appears complaints are widespread, involving all major carriers with messages sent from both iPhones and Android users.

At fault was a server that went offline on Valentine’s Day 2019, with the resulting 168,149 unsent messages being pushed through when the server finally came back online on November 7th. A spokesperson for Sprint stated that server “maintenance update” during the evening had caused the error and that it had been fixed. T-Mobile was made aware and pointed the finger at a third-party contractor, also stating that the matter had been resolved. Syniverse, the company accepting blame for the failure of messages being undelivered, later told The Verge that they were “still assessing the scope and volume of messages impacted by this server disruption”.

Limitations of Short Message Service (SMS)

No carrier can guarantee delivery of SMS text messages and the technology itself is woefully antiquated, having its roots in development since the 1980s. It’s also not reliable as there is no such mechanism to determine whether or not a message has been delivered. It helps explain why the rise of applications like Apple’s iMessage, Google Messages and WhatsApp are being used on-top or in-place of SMS. These messaging apps can quickly deliver messages over the internet (using either WiFi or cellular data) and confirm whether or not a message has been sent and received via receipts. On top of that, they also facilitate the sharing of rich-media, such as photos and video, in much higher fidelity when compared to the same content shared via MMS. Keep all of this in mind when you want to share content in the future.