There was confusion, misunderstandings and even alarm due to text messages received overnight on Wednesday.
It seems that the text messages have been originally sent on February 14, Valentine’s Day; however, were received after over eight months with Wednesday’s time stamp. According to Syniverse, which offer technology and business services for several telecommunication companies, the total number of messages as a result of this so called “internal maintenance cycle” was 168,149.
All four major carriers in the US faced this issue and affected both Apple (AAPL) and Android devices.
People shared the problems they faced due to the delayed messages on social media and Reddit. Some received text messages from ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends which led to awkward conversations. Others received messages from relatives or friends who had since passed away. One woman posted on Sprint’s Twitter account that her phone had sent a message to her boss in the middle of the night.
The person who sent the text originally should have a record of the message in their archives.
Some carriers said it was due to a “maintenance update” and a “third-party vendor.”
A Sprint (S) spokesperson told CNN Business, “Last evening, a maintenance update occurred to part of the messaging platforms of multiple carriers in the US, including Sprint, which caused some customers to have older text messages sent to their devices. The issue was resolved not long after it occurred. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.”
T-Mobile (TMUS) said the issue was not internal but rather originated from a third-party vendor which affected its networks too. A spokesperson said T-Mobile was aware of the problem and it has resolved it.
Verizon (VZ) referred CNN Business to Syniverse, which confirmed the incident.
William Hurley, chief marketing and product officer at Syniverse said, “We apologize to anyone who was impacted by this occurrence. While the issue has been resolved, we are in the process of reviewing our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again, and actively working with our customers’ teams to answer any questions they have.”
AT&T (T), which is CNN’s parent company, did not respond to a request for comment immediately. Apple and Google (GOOG) didn’t either.
ABI Research, which offers research and guidance on technology, said the four major carriers announced a “cross-carrier messaging system” which is expected to launch in 2020.
Leo Gergs, an ABI research analyst, told CNN Business, “Unfortunately, in order for improvements to happen, updates need to take place. And, sometimes those updates do have a glitch or hiccup.”
Gergs added that Valentine’s Day messages were probably affected as the amount of texts sent on that day is “abnormally high.”