Telecom

Thousands of AT&T Customers Lose Cell Service

Author: Editors Desk, Alyssa Lukpat Follow and Nicholas Hatcher Follow Source: WSJ:
February 22, 2024 at 10:42
AT&T customers reported issues texting or making calls on Thursday. PHOTO: JEENAH MOON/BLOOMBERG NEWS
AT&T customers reported issues texting or making calls on Thursday. PHOTO: JEENAH MOON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Thousands of AT&T T -2.01%decrease; red down pointing triangle users across the U.S. were experiencing issues with their cell service Thursday morning. 

AT&T customers began reporting problems on Downdetector, which tracks internet outages, after 3 a.m. ET. There were nearly 75,000 reports of outages around 9:15 a.m.

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, also experienced network issues, with about 13,000 outages reported on Downdetector as of 9 a.m.

Some AT&T users said on social media that their phones were stuck in SOS mode, meaning they had no service but could make emergency calls. Some cellphones can use satellite to connect to 911 if cell service doesn’t work.

Emergency services across the U.S. said the issue affected people’s ability to make or receive calls, including to 911. The outage didn’t affect 911 centers. The Massachusetts State Police said people were flooding 911 centers with calls to test if their phones worked and asked them to stop. 

Users across the country said they had no cell service. The outage was clustered in metro areas including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Raleigh, N.C., according to Downdetector. AT&T had more than 90 million cellphone subscribers as of Dec. 31.

Representatives for AT&T and Cricket said they were working to restore wireless service to customers. The companies encouraged people to use Wi-Fi calling until service was restored.

Steven Cashmore, from Natick, Mass., said he noticed when he woke up around 6:30 a.m. that his phone had zero bars. He could still call and text people over Wi-Fi.

The 52-year-old quickly checked if his company’s operations would be affected but discovered they would be fine because they used Comcast and Verizon, said Cashmore, the vice president of information technology and operations at a travel company.

Still, he said, “It has obviously disrupted my day.”

Some users took to social media to voice their frustrations and insist on account credits to make up for the inconvenience. 

Customers of carriers including Verizon and T-Mobile also reported network issues, according to Downdetector. Representatives for Verizon and T-Mobile said their networks were operating normally and that some customers experienced issues when calling or texting customers on other networks.

Will Feuer contributed to this article.

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