More than 25 million text messages (SMS) and close to 1 million picture messages (MMS) passed through Telenor's mobile network on New Year's Eve. These are record figures, both for text and picture messages.
"We did expect some records to be broken, and we are pleased to register that although some people may have experienced slight delays sending and receiving messages, the mobile network has managed the traffic this year too," said Jon Erik Haug, Head of Mobile in Telenor's Norwegian operation.
On New Year's Eve last year, which was when the previous record was set, festive Norwegians sent more than 19 million text messages and almost 500,000 picture messages. Before New Year's Eve 2004, Telenor installed an extra SMS central, enabling Telenor to handle twice the amount traffic without any delays. It is impossible to completely safeguard against any delays, however, as the number of messages virtually explodes during a very short period.
"When the number of messages going through the network exceeds 1,000 per second we are reaching critical volumes, and delays may occur. But at no time will messages get lost, and as long as they have been sent from the sender's handset, the messages are stored with us and we will ship them on as soon as we have available capacity," said Haug.
In extreme cases, when great numbers of people send messages in the same area, users may experience difficulties getting messages through. If this happens, the only solution is to try again in a few minutes, and normally the message will get through on the second attempt.
"We are of course seeing the greatest rush around midnight, or more precisely between 00:15 CET and 00:30 CET, when most of the fireworks have been exhausted and hugs have been shared by all. If customers want to make sure there are no delays, I would recommend waiting a little bit longer, or, alternatively, sending the New Year Greetings earlier in the evening," said Haug.
Around 70,000 Telenor customers have purchased 3G handsets that support video calls, and feedback indicates that many customers have taken this opportunity to test the video call option. Telenor customers are offered free of charge video calls to up to and including April 2006.