Most crisis communications specialists therefore advise messaging customers, clients or the general public via several channels, including social media and email.
Some of the mobile network’s shortcomings – patchy coverage being one of the most serious – might be addressed with the advent of 5G – or fifth generation mobile broadband.
5G, which is due to be rolled out globally in 2020, promises much faster data transfer speeds, greater coverage and more efficient use of the spectrum bandwidth.
It is 10 times faster than the highest speed 4G can manage and will enable mobile devices to switch automatically between the various newly available frequencies.
One frequency will be for long-range connections, across rural areas for example; one will be for urban environments, providing high numbers of users with high-speed connectivity; and there will also be a high-capacity frequency for densely populated areas, such as sports stadiums and railway terminals.
Lack of reception should become less of a problem.
Looking ahead, new technologies, such as augmented reality accessed through special glasses or smartphones, could supplement text messaging, showing hotel guests directions to the nearest fire exit, for example, and the location of the muster point.
But while we wait for new technologies to arrive, the humble text message is proving that it still has a lot of life left in it yet.