That’s happened to me before, but it pretty rare. My guess is that the server that was handling the message crashed, and the message was queued up but never sent. Eventually there is a process that runs, perhaps at midnight, and looks for undelivered text messages and sends them out.
One evening I was with my brother who was my business partner at the time. I had texted him at about noon, and he hadn’t rec’d it yet, then we turned our conversion to some news item of the day talking about bouncing a signal of Jupiter and it took 7 hours, just about that time his phone rec’d my message 7 hours late. We decided the signal had been bounced off Jupiter and let it go!
Yeah, you got lost in the network. It happens sometimes. Sorry it was a relatively critical text. I once had a whole group message convo get to me 5ish hours late. About 10 texts back and forth over half an hour at 4 in the morning. Made me a tad cranky, tbh.
I disagree with this. I’ve had it happen before, and what appears to be happening is that the network loses track of where the phone is or doesn’t think it can receive messages. Typically, when I restart my phone, send a message, or move to a different cell area I would get a bunch of messages at once. So it’s like it suddenly sees my phone again and sends everything it has
I’ve seen it happen when the sender’s phone is roaming. I don’t know if it’s still the case with 4G and data and all the newer connectivity, but 10+ years ago if you’re phone was roaming and you sent a text it would could be hours before the other person got it. I don’t know if your phone waiting until it wasn’t roaming to send it of if that’s just the way it worked.
Traditionally, text messages piggyback on empty space in the GSM protocol (and similar). Their delivery is “best effort”, not guaranteed, and usually that’s good enough for 90% of messages. When there’s congestion or tower issues, sometimes they get delayed or disappeared altogether.
If you want something with better delivery chances, considering switching to something like Hangouts that’ll send it over the Internet instead and give you real-time acknowledgment of a successful send or a failure. Better yet, just call the other person for urgent things.
I hate phone calls too and prefer to text/message whenever possible. But it’s just not 100% reliable, as you’ve discovered. Maybe find an app you can both agree to use to message each other with. Voxer is quick and easy, almost like a push-to-talk for text messages.