Valentine messages crash Thai mobile network

SMS messages too popular for Thailand's biggest GSM network

The worldwide SMS text-messaging boom can have its downside, as Thailand's biggest mobile operator found out on Valentine's Day, when a flood of more than 100,000 Valentine's greetings within an hour crashed the network.

Advanced Info Service (AIS) saw its biggest day yet for SMS messages on 14 February, as thousands of lovers expressed their feelings for one another via the mobile's tiny screen.

Unfortunately, the network can only transmit 72,000 messages an hour and the resulting crash blocked both SMS and voice calls. "The volume of messages sent from mobile phones this Valentine's Day was the highest volume ever -- twice as big as the message traffic sent on New Year's Eve," Wichian Mektrakarn, vice president of AIS's engineering operation, said.

AIS, with 1.9 million subscribers, has a 52 percent share of the Thai mobile phone market.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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