Getting a Valentine’s Day text message isn’t unusual — unless you’re getting it late at night in the middle of November. And that’s exactly what happened to a slew of U.S. smartphone users.
Last night, many wireless customers in the U.S. received text messages that were originally sent about nine months ago. That includes messages sent on Valentine’s Day or around that same timeframe.
The Verge, who first reported on the issue, notes that the people sending the messages never knew that they didn’t send on Valentine’s Day. And the recipients never received them. Until, last night that is.
What’s even stranger is that it isn’t clear what caused the extreme delay. It seemed to happen no matter which device a user had, and reports have been tied to pretty much all the major telcos — and even smaller carriers and VoIP services.
Most of the issue complaints are apparently tied to T-Mobile and Sprint customers, although other reports mention AT&T, Verizon, smaller regional carriers in the U.S. and Canada, and Google Voice.
Both T-Mobile and Sprint actually acknowledged the issue to The Verge. A T-Mobile representative blamed it on a “third-party vendor,” while a Sprint spokesperson told the publication that a “maintenance update” actually caused the issue.
AT&T and Verizon haven’t publicly acknowledged the problem. It isn’t clear if their networks were unaffected or if they simply have declined to comment.
T-Mobile and Sprint noted that the bug was quickly resolved soon after it was discovered. Presumably, that was sometime last night.
Still, for some users, the damage may already have been done. Although the bug was simply annoying, awkward or embarrassing for many impacted users, it was legitimately distressing for others.
A few affected users told The Verge that they received a text message from someone who had died. Twitter user KuribHoe said she received a text from a best friend who is now dead.
“It was a punch in the gut,” she said. “The last few months haven’t been easy and just when I thought I was getting some type of closure this just ripped open a new hole.”