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Thousands of AT&T Customers Report Phone Service Outages Across America

On Thursday morning, a large portion of AT&T’s customer base in the US experienced a network outage, rendering them unable to use the internet or make and receive calls.

Among the more than 74,000 reported outages as of 9 am, the top cities experiencing problems were Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, according to the tracking site Downdetector.

While some Verizon and T-Mobile customers also experienced outages, the companies stated that those affected were likely attempting to reach AT&T users. As of 7 am, 3,000 Verizon outages and 1,100 T-Mobile outages were reported by customers. Verizon told CNN, “Verizon’s network is operating normally.”

“Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation.”

AT&T acknowledged the outages in a statement but did not specify why the system failed.

 “Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored.”

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The company did not provide a timeline for when the system would be completely restored, but it did say that portions of the network are starting to recover. AT&T has been directing people to contact customer service via direct message in their online responses to customer complaints.

According to CNN, an anonymous source in the industry said that the problem seems to be associated with the way cellular services hand off calls from one network to another, a process called peering. The source also stated there is currently no evidence to believe that a cyberattack caused the widespread outages.

A significant concern is that due to the outages, some individuals might be unable to reach emergency services by dialing 911.

On X, San Francisco’s Fire Department told users they were aware of the issue and the trouble it posed for people in crisis.

“We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911). We are actively engaged and monitoring this. The San Francisco 911 center is still operational. If you are an AT&T customer and cannot get through to 911, then please try calling from a landline. If that is not an option, then please try to get ahold of a friend or family member who is a customer of a different carrier and ask them to call 911 on your behalf.”

Officials from emergency services nationwide, including Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and Georgia, have stated that the outage is affecting their operations. Many of the departments advised relying on Wi-Fi for calls.

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On Thursday morning, members of the New York Police Department informed CNN that their AT&T phones could not make or receive calls or emails unless they were connected to Wi-Fi.

Officials from emergency services, such as those from The Massachusetts State Police, also told residents not to test their service by placing 911 calls.

“Many 911 centers in the state are getting flooded w/ calls from people trying to see if 911 works from their cell phone. Please do not do this. If you can successfully place a non-emergency call to another number via your cell service, then your 911 service will also work.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens released a statement saying the city is gathering more information to address the outages adequately.

“Atlanta’s e-911 is able to receive inbound and make outbound calls. We have received calls from AT&T customers that their cellular phones are in SOS mode.”

The company’s FirstNet network is still up and running, according to an AT&T representative. As a more robust network than AT&T’s commercial network, FirstNet offers coverage for police, fire departments, and first responders during national disasters.

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