I spoke too soon…

Although I stand by my earlier comments about Island Tel Mobility, shortly after I posted them came a fly in the ointment.

I pay $4.50 a month for Mobility’s InforMe text messaging service. This lets me receive short text messages on my digital cell phone, and I use it with server and network monitoring tools as an alerting mechanism (“Pete, Pete, the network’s down, we need you…” cries the server).

Earlier in the week I was upgrading this monitoring system, and this involved some testing of the email to cell phone system. It was working well and then, suddenly, it wasn’t. Nothing had changed on my end, but the messages I was sending myself as a test weren’t getting through to my phone.

This went on for several hours before I gave up and went to bed, but not before I wrote an email to Island Tel’s customer service folks to inquire about the outage and, further, to seek their advice on whether I could excpect this sort of outage to occur in future.

Today I received the following response:

Thank you very much for your recent inquiry.

We were having isolated problems with our Text Messaging service starting last Friday. The problem occurred in the Bell network which our SMS system is linked to.

The system should now be restored.

This service, along with all of our wireless services, are not guaranteed, and can on occasion develop problems whether they be system problems, or simply coverage problems.

So sorry for this inconvenience.

While I certainly appreciate the note back, it appears that what they’re saying is, in essence, “the system’s sometimes broken, so don’t rely on it.” This, for all intents and purposes, takes what might be a useful service and makes it completely useless. Would you hire a babysitter who told you “occasionally I’ll develop system problems and will let your child wander into the street?”

Their website says: “Text Messaging gives digital cellular and alphanumeric paging customers the capability to receive and view text messages on the display screens of their phone and pagers.”

I think they should add “sometimes” to the sentence. Sigh.