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T-Mobile and Vodafone Prove to Lead to Pack on SMS World Cup Delivery


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June 27, 2006

T-Mobile and Vodafone Prove to Lead to Pack on SMS World Cup Delivery

By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

The most intense competition taking place at the World Cup is not that of the players vying for the title; it is that of the vendors racing to be the first to know, first to report and first to sell.
Two companies at the forefront of this contest are T-Mobile and Vodafone. As England beat Ecuador on Sunday, the two operators delivered their SMS alerts of Beckham’s winning goal within one minute of his free kick strike. The move by T-Mobile and Vodafone proved to be the fastest performance of the whole tournament.
As a sponsor of the tournament, T-Mobile has shown consistent leadership in terms of SMS delivery speed. However, when the SMS services of all five UK operators were measured at the conclusion of England’s opening World Cup game against Paraguay two weeks prior, T-Mobile’s SMS notification of England’s goal took more than three minutes to arrive.
By comparison, Vodafone had been the slowest operator during both of England’s first two games by a considerable margin. The provider showed significant improvement on Sunday and is now neck and neck with T-Mobile, providing the fastest service.
One of the five operators delivering results via SMS continues to lag behind. Delivering its goal notification more than 10 minutes after Beckham had scored, this particular operator presents little threat to the bigger players.
This data is a result of tests being conducted by Argogroup, the mobile data services testing company. The tests are the fourth in a series and took place between four and six on Sunday evening, June 25, using a variety of phones from different manufacturers.
Despite the fast results delivered by T-Mobile and Vodafone on Sunday, consumers are demanding still more. Argogroup conducted a poll last Friday, randomly selecting 50 mobile phone users and inquiring as to the acceptable SMS delivery time for something like the World Cup. More than 60 percent responded that 30 seconds would be considered acceptable.
The same consumer group was asked about multimedia messaging service (MMS) and a similar percentage did not know what MMS was. Roughly three-quarters of the remaining respondents understood was MMS was but had never tried an MMS service while twenty-five percent had tried to use an MMS service but had not been satisfied. T-Mobile is one of five UK operators currently offering an MMS and on Sunday, goal reports took almost twelve minutes to arrive.
Video coverage of Sunday’s event was provided by 3UK and T-Mobile. Delivering its shorter clip in six minutes, 3UK proved faster than T-Mobile’s almost 13 minute delay.
David Frodsham, Argogroup’s CEO, noted that the company’s tests show that operators are beginning to get a grip on providing services like these to a mass audience. What they still have to overcome are the teething troubles that significantly affect the user experience and their revenues.
In order for these operators to compete on a level that is considered acceptable to consumers, they have to surpass their performance on Sunday. Consumers are demanding better and faster delivery everyday and there is nothing like an intense sporting event that enhances that demand.
While MMS and video feeds have a way to go before they will reach an acceptable level, both T-Mobile and Vodafone have done well to concentrate on increasing delivering speeds, significantly improving on past performance. Given the level of improvement during the World Cup alone, reaching the 30 second expected benchmark should be quickly achievable.  
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.


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