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Text messages delayed by Christmas surge

After a boom in texts at Christmas, mobile phone operators are preparing themselves for another record day as the New Year approaches
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Christmas was a busy and profitable time for mobile phone suppliers as they saw a surge in demand for text messaging services and networks sagged under the strain. Now they are steeling themselves for the New Year onslaught.

O2, which was recently bought by Spanish company Telefonica, says the Christmas Day surge in text traffic was 30 percent larger than last year, leading to delays in some messages getting through.

About 65 million texts were sent through O2 on Christmas Day, a company spokesman told the Daily Telegraph. 3.25 million of these, which were sent during the morning peak at around 10.40am, were delayed.

The delays happened despite the company's preparations for the regular spike in demand that occurs on Christmas Day.  Other suppliers such as Vodafone also reported some minor disruption in services due to high demand.

O2 and other networks are now gearing themselves for another surge around midnight on December 31 as subscribers rush to phone relatives and friends to pass on good wishes for the New Year.

According to Telstra in Australia, while a record 17.2 million text messages were sent on Christmas Day, at least 25 million will be sent on New Year’s Day, threatening more disruption. However, the company said it will spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in the next few days to boost its network to deal with this increase.

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