Earlier this week, almost 170,000 text messages were delivered that were supposed to be sent on Valentine’s Day — and now it looks like we have a reason why. According to a new report, the issue had to do with a faulty server that briefly went down, preventing messages from being sent while it was down.
The server is owned by a third-party provider called Syniverse, which is one of the companies that provides text messaging services to major mobile carriers. Syniverse says that its server went offline on February 14, after which it was finally brought back online on Wednesday, November 6. The result? The messages that were supposed to be sent on Valentine’s Day were finally sent through.
Syniverse says that it normally only retains text messages for 24 to 72 hours, but that was circumvented by the server going down. In total 168,000 messages failed to go through on Valentine’s Day, which certainly isn’t a small number.
“Messages that cannot be delivered immediately are temporarily stored between 24 to 72 hours depending upon each mobile operator’s configuration,” Syniverse said in a statement. “During this time, multiple delivery attempts are made. If the message remains undeliverable after the specified time, the message is automatically deleted by Syniverse.”
This explains a lot of things. Namely, it explains why messages from multiple carriers failed to go through. Originally, some thought that the issue may have been related to a specific carrier, but it soon became clear that it was unrelated to a specific carrier or to a specific phone brand. Ultimately, users of most major U.S. carriers reported that they were affected by the incident.
The incident sheds some light on what happens behind the scenes when you send a text message. Clearly, there are a number of companies that are involved in delivering that message to the recipient. As a report from CNBC highlights, Syniverse is one of many companies that works with carriers, including the likes of Subex, Syntec, Starhome, and more — all companies that you’ve likely never heard of. Some of these companies are involved in the delivery of text messages, while others work with cloud providers.