Thumbs Up, Get Ready for an SMS Workout

London, United Kingdom

As we often point out, here at TeleSign we deal with mission-critical SMS for the purposes of verification, authentication, password reset, financial alerts and the like — all messages which positively, absolutely have to get there, in seconds. But remember, we don't just work with mobile operators, we are a mobile operator.

We have alternative delivery routes in place for automatic switching should primary routes fail. We have real-time monitoring and alerting, phone number cleansing, 24/7 support — everything to ensure our messages reach their target. So how do other operators measure up?

Well, you may have the seen the rather nice ‘Rocky-style' ‘Get Fit for 4G' ad where a certain mobile operator suggested their 4G offering is going to be so fast, you'd better get your thumbs in shape, and as an incentive they provided some ‘thumbells', a pair of mini-dumbbells for your thumbs.

They even backed up their new interest in ‘digital health' with a survey that found that 43% of smartphone owners have experienced thumb pain in the last five years, while over half complain that their thumbs get tired when they use their smartphones.

But before anyone considers going in for a 4G workout, they might want to look at how this operator performs at the far more menial task of delivering the simple SMS. A research company did exactly this recently and, far from applauding their digital excellence, they were more tempted to give them the thumbs down.

Seven pairs of secondhand Nokia mobile phones were set up, each with SIM cards for the five UK mobile network operators (MNOs) and the country's two largest virtual mobile network operators (VMNOs). Messages were sent from these phones, both to a phone on the same network, and to those on a different network. What was noticeable was that delivery was prompt when all phones were switched on, whether the distance involved was close (3 miles) or relatively far away (over 200 miles).

However, it was a very different matter when the receiving phones were turned off, and only switched on again eight hours later (a test which was thought to be more representative of how texts are received in everyday life). On average, the operator we're talking about took nearly 10 minutes to receive a text, whereas the next worst performer took half that, with the star delivery network registering an average of 30 seconds.

This operator apparently has a poor reputation for text delivery. It is thought that their Spanish-based owners might be managing their networks from servers based in Spain, which would account for their poor performance.

Far from encouraging the rest of us to start flexing our thumbs, maybe this ‘thumbtastic' operator should take their own flabby network to the gym?"

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