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Dumped due to communication breakdown

Hello to everyone in the Philippines (via SMS). According to Cnet you are a nation who love to text, in fact they reckon you send on average 12 to 15 messages each day.

This could be something to do with the price of texting in the Philippines, with carriers bundling hundreds of free texts on some tariffs. On Globe’s website, SMS charges can get as low as half a Philippine Peso, which is approximately 1 US Cent.

I expect this charging mirrors the actual cost per SMS closer than many countries’ carriers, where charges of 10 to 20 US cents per text are common.

A text uses 140 bytes, which is approximately 0.14kb or 0.00014mb. If we assume 10 cents per text on average then by extrapolation texting costs around $714 per megabyte. That would be an expensive data tariff.

In fact texting doesn’t actually get carried on the data networks. It uses the GSM signalling channels, whilst voice calls travel simultaneously through dedicated GSM voice channels.

The signalling channels are an essential part of GSM infrastructure and send control data, so SMS is basically a bi-product of the voice service…a bi-product which has become extremely profitable for many carriers. So well done to the Filipinos, you’re getting a good deal!

I certainly hope your texts arrive quicker than mine. I tend to find, especially on nights out when everyone’s trying to meet up, that my texts reach their destination late.

Sometimes very late. One friend asked me recently why I texted him at 4.30am just to say how good Tiger Woods 08 is. To placate him I pulled up my sent folder which showed I sent the message at 9.30pm. It took seven hours for the SMS to arrive. The guy only lives four blocks away!

Texts can arrive late because they generally get delivered on a best efforts basis. Voice data has a dedicated channel so once you initiate a call, your conversation happens in real time. Text messages on the other hand are sent using a ‘store-and-forward’ model. They go through a variety of sorting infrastructure devices before they get delivered to the recipient.

So on big nights out when everyone is texting to tell their friends where they are, the high volume of messages places strain on these sorting devices and so your text might take longer to reach its destination.

What does this mean in practise? Your date gets your text about where to meet three hours late and so dumps you by text, which you receive the next morning whilst nursing a hangover.

Neil Berman

Cnet article referenced above can be found here.


Jan 3, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Interesting post here… Can I butt in?

    The Philippines was indeed the text capital of the world as many claimed here in Manila. I am not sure if it will get us to the Guinness but who cares anyway. Am sure you won’t.

    I just wanted to comment on the impression of delayed text messages. You see, the competing carriers here in the Philippines are continuously improving their services (maybe because they are really raking in cash here). Part of that is to make sure that the texts we send gets to the other phone on time.

    Yes, there are times when its late especially during busy hours and seasons (like Christmas Holidays) but because it’s so cheap rather than calls, we tend to live with it just the same. We are developing country you know.

    As to being late for a date, I can say that it happened to me once so for that time, my girlfriend called me and asked where I was. And that’s the only time the carriers here earn from voice calls from us. ;o)

    Hope this info helps.

    Manny from Manila, Philippines

    Comment by Manny J | Apr 18, 2008 | Reply

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