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Where did that SMS go?

7.5% of messages 'lost' during US tests

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One in twelve text messages, originated by email, are either tardy or lost on their way to US mobile subscribers.

That's the surprising findings from a survey by Web performance monitoring outfit Keynote Systems which found 7.5 per cent of the messages sent during its tests were not received within 120 seconds during its two-week study of the SMS systems of major US carriers last month.

These lost messages represent significant lost revenues for carriers as well as been a pain in the neck for users, Keynote points out.

The company says its study "indicates the urgent need for monitoring and diagnostic services that help expose performance problems", such as its Wireless Perspective Carrier Edition Service.

Each test measurement consists of a single short message originated via email (our emphasis) and received by a mobile handset connected to a Keynote Wireless Perspective Agent. The tests were conducted in a variety in Seattle and New York over a variety of networks (CDMA, GSM etc.) run by AT&T, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon and Voicestream. Keynote's methodology is explained here.

A breakdown of the figures shows delivery failures were higher for messages sent between networks, dropping as low at 81.6 per cent in the case of messages sent between T-Mobile and Nextel's networks.

We wonder whether the email leg of the journey is causing the problems here, since we've never had trouble sending SMS messages in the UK. Perhaps US readers can help us decide if Keynote has fingered a genuine problem. ®

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