Possible reasons for a delay in message delivery

There are a number of reasons why message delivery might be delayed.

Examples of these can be:

  • Handset temporarily unavailable (such as a loss of signal)
    Often the leading cause of delays in message delivery due to the handset not always being readily available. This is particularly true when travelling, when in mountainous or uneven environments or when the network signal isn’t strong enough.
  • Handset is assigned to a new base station
    Handsets and SMSCs constantly “ping” each other for the SMSC to determine the handset status or vice versa. As part of its operation, the SMSC needs to determine where the handset’s closest base station is. During times of switching from one base station to another, message delays can occur.
  • SMSC’s and base stations have their own retry schedules when attempting to deliver messages
    Depending on the volume and activity load of the base station, certain messages might take longer to be delivered than others. There is no prioritisation on delivering messages, but rather how often the message has been retried. The more often a message is retried, the longer the time interval is before the next retry is attempted – until the message ultimately expires.
  • SMSC’s and Base station reliability
    If a Base station fails for any particular reason, SMSC’s automatically reroute all messages through the next closest base station. This results in the surrounding base stations increasing activity and volume that their internal logic isn’t prepared for, resulting in considerable delays in message delivery for that area. This scenario rarely occurs.

+ many more reasons

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other reasons your message might be delayed. But these additional reasons are more technically detailed and are not always explained by the operators.

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