SMS lines jammed

THOUSANDS of pupils and parents yesterday inundated cellphone networks with SMSes trying to find out about their matric results.

Even Sowetan's SMS line was jammed, while Vodacom, MTN and Cell C were under pressure from eager pupils, friends, colleagues and relatives. By midday impatient people were calling and hurling insults.

The SMS system, launched by Sowetan in December, struggled with SMS traffic as thousands of SMSes exchanged from cellphones after the matric results were released.

Pupils would SMS the word Sowetan and their ID number to 35479 to register in the system. Yesterday they would then receive SMSes from Sowetan giving them their results.

Avusa mobile expert James Erasmus said the system was sending about 50000 SMSes an hour and was slow because of the traffic volume.

"About 200000 people registered for the service, hence the system was slow," Erasmus said.

Jody Sandison, editor of New Media Unit at the SABC, which partnered with Marketel to render the SMS service, said traffic volumes lowered the SMS response rate, delaying it for hours.

She said by about 3pm yesterday a total of 100000 SMSes with results had been sent out.