BUSINESS + ECONOMY

AT&T customers report a massive outage, disrupting phone service across America

Feb 22, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: Feb 26, 2024, 12:08 pm

Image of an AT&T cell tower, as many AT&T customers report they are part of a massive outage....

Many AT&T customers are part of a massive outage. (Brett Coomer /Houston Chronicle /Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(Brett Coomer /Houston Chronicle /Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — AT&T’s network went down for many of its customers across the United States Thursday morning, leaving customers unable to place calls, text or access the internet.

Although Verizon and T-Mobile customers reported some network outages, too, they appeared far less widespread. T-Mobile and Verizon said their networks were unaffected by AT&T’s service outage and customers reporting outages may have been unable to reach customers who use AT&T.

More than 73,000 AT&T customers reported outages on digital-service tracking site DownDetector. That’s not a comprehensive number: It tracks only self-reported outages. Although outage reports fell a bit in the 5 am ET hour, they bounced back in the 7 am ET hour and continue to surge.

AT&T acknowledged that it has a widespread outage but did not provide a reason for the system failure.

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them,” AT&T said in a statement. “We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored.”

The company said some parts of its network are beginning to recover but it did not have a timeframe for when its system would be fully restored. AT&T has been responding to customer complaints online, asking them to send direct messages to customer service.

Why AT&T went down

AT&T has encountered sporadic outages over the past few days, including a temporary 911 outage in some parts of the southeastern United States. Although outages happen from time to time, nationwide, prolonged outages are exceedingly rare.

Although AT&T provided no official reason for the outage, the issue appears to be related to how cellular services hand off calls from one network to the next, a process known as peering, according to an industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

There’s no indication that Thursday’s outage was the result of a cyberattack or other malicious activity, the industry source said.

Verizon believes the nationwide outage involving AT&T customers “is close to being resolved,” according to Richard Young, a Verizon spokesman.

Carriers are notoriously mum about why their networks go down. In the past, there have been construction accidents that have cut fiberoptic cables, incidents of sabotage or network updates filled with bugs that became difficult to roll back.

Local governments report outages

Several local governments said AT&T’s outage was disrupting its services.

San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management said in a statement on X Thursday morning that its 911 center remained operational, but many AT&T customers were unable to reach the emergency line because of the outage. It suggested people call from a landline or find someone with a rival’s service to dial 911.

“We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911),” the department said in its post. “We are actively engaged and monitoring this.”

The Fire Department in Upper Arlington, Ohio, said the AT&T outage was affecting its fire alarms. St. Joseph County, Michigan, advised residents to use Wi-Fi to place 911 calls if they can’t reach 911 on AT&T’s network. Cobb County, Georgia, said its 911 operations remained unaffected by the outage but noted customers may want to find alternate methods of reaching emergency services. Cabel County, West Virginia, said customers that couldn’t reach 911 could text to 911 as a last resort.

New York Police Department officials told CNN that they were not able to make calls or utilize emails on AT&T phones Thursday morning unless they were connected to Wi-Fi.

Verizon and T-Mobile say they’re unaffected

There also have been about 1,000 outages reported by both Verizon and T-Mobile customers Thursday morning, the DownDetector website indicates.

“We did not experience an outage,” T-Mobile said in a statement. “Our network is operating normally.”

Verizon had a similar comment, saying it was unaffected by AT&T’s outage.

“Verizon’s network is operating normally,” Verizon told CNN in a statement. “Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation.”

User reports on Downdetector about a T-Mobile outage, the company added, are “likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks.”

Downdetector offers “real-time status information for over 12,000 services across 47 websites representing 47 countries,” the website says.

CNN’s Caroll Alvarado and John Miller contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

People working past retirement age...

Nicole Goodkind, CNN

More people are working well past retirement age. It’s not easy

Americans over 75 are the fastest-growing age group in the workforce, more than quadrupling in size since 1964.

5 hours ago

Signs promoting a "closing sale" are posted UWM Men's Shop in downtown Salt Lake City Monday. The b...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Salt Lake business to relocate to Murray after 119 years; building to be torn down

The business formerly kown as Utah Woolen Mills, is stated to move to Murray before the building is torn down later this year.

2 days ago

wall street and broad signs shown...

STAN CHOE AP Business Writer

Stock market today: Wall Street falls toward its worst week in months as oil jumps

The nation’s largest bank gave a forecast for a key source of income this year that fell below Wall Street’s estimate.

4 days ago

A man sits at an office computer - Companies are experimenting with a four day workweek...

CNN

4-day workweeks may be around the corner. A third of America’s companies are exploring them

Nearly one-third of large US companies are exploring new work schedule shifts such as a four-day workweek, according to a survey by KPMG.

4 days ago

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on student loan debt at Madison College on April 8 in Madison,...

Katie Lobosco, CNN

Biden to forgive $7.4 billion more in student loan debt for 277,000 borrowers

President Joe Biden announced another round of student loan forgiveness helping around 277,000 borrowers.

4 days ago

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, USA, Oct. 14, 2022....

KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it's deploying new tools to protect young people, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

AT&T customers report a massive outage, disrupting phone service across America