Mixed Messages

Communications is getting better and better of course. But sloppiness abounds. What kind of signal is given by the failure to deliver messages on time? Vodafone UK’s failure to deliver 11,500 SMS texts in time for a TV show vote is revealing on two levels. First it says that Vodafone UK is happy to lose nearly £6,000 in revenues. Of course, over 80% of that revenue was going to go to other businesses. So will Vodafone be compensating their business partners as well as refunding their customers? It is only because of the unusually high levels of scrutiny currently being given to TV-related premium services that this is a news story. We have little public data on how often this kind of thing happens; annual losses may run high. Second, it says the service provider does not care about whether a text message arrives in 2 minutes or 2 days. Saying the 11,500 texts delayed is a “small proportion” of all the texts sent that night is not very reassuring. These service levels may be good enough for quick, cheap and trivial text messages sent between friends. But standards will have to be a lot better to justify the hype – and cost – of the advanced data-driven services that Vodafone and others sell as the future of mobile. After all, if you look at the financial reports you will see revenues from those advanced services get added to the same total as revenues from SMS.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.