Everything Everywhere Ltd. was created out of the merger of Orange and T-Mobile late last year. It boasts 30.2 million customers and 713 stores around the country.
Despite its size, it had a small problem.
Some of the text messages sent by customers to friends and relatives outside of the UK weren't getting through.
The percentage wasn't high: about 400,000 out of a total of 870 million outgoing test messages per month, or less than 1 in 2,000, according to Lee Nightingale, acting interconnect manager for the carrier services group of Everything Everywhere. But that was still obviously plenty enough that the telco wanted to fix it for their subscribers.
Messaging networks generally will retry sending a text message for three days before giving up, he said. But the problem is the continued growth in SMS traffic that is clogging up unprepared networks.
My Sybase colleague William Dudley predicts based on Informa figures that SMS traffic worldwide in 2010 will grow 30% from last year, to 6.5 trillion text messages. That's despite "experts" long predicting the death of SMS in favor of Webmail and other technologies for years.
Everything Everywhere had interoperability agreements with 500 telcos around the globe, enough for agreements with multiple operators in some countries, but not all. That's where failed SMS deliveries were most rife.
Rather than going the labor-intensive route of inking more operator agreements one-by-one, Everything Everywhere chose the Intelligent Routeback solution from Sybase 365, which has agreements with 940 operators.
"We let Sybase do all of the donkey work, and we get to reap the benefits," Nightingale said.
The number of undelivered text messages sent by its users has plummeted, Nightingale said, due to Sybase's extensive, redundant network.
"I'd totally recommend Sybase 365. Our working relationship has been second-to-none," he said.
Because of that success, Everything Everywhere is pushing forward on SMS-related projects with Sybase that offer revenue-generating opportunities. These include value-added services such as opt-in SMS alerts sent from, for instance, airlines, to consumers, as well as text message coupons sent to consumers. Hardly the stuff of a 'legacy' technology.
"SMS is still a very valid money stream," he said.