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AT&T restores cellphone service after US outage affecting thousands of users

by California Digital News

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AT&T has resolved a widespread outage that had affected over 70,000 customers by 8AM ET, according to tracking site Downdetector. Most of these issues were centered in Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta. This impacted cellular service and data connections, with many customers noting that they couldn’t even contact 911.

It’s still unclear as to what caused the service interruption. In a brief statement to CNBC, AT&T said it is “working urgently to restore service.” The company encouraged customers to make use of Wi-Fi calling until the problem is handled.

Thousands of Verizon and T-Mobile customers also reported outages, but both companies said that those impacted had been trying to contact AT&T numbers. The market has declared this a serious problem, as AT&T shares were down nearly three percent as of this story’s original publish time.

Cellular interruptions are a regular part of life, but the fact that many impacted customers cannot contact 911 and other emergency services is particularly worrisome. The San Francisco Fire Department has urged city residents to try calling 911 from a landline or to “get ahold of a friend or family member” who has signed up for a different carrier.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens noted that the city employees could make and receive 911 calls, but that many AT&T customers could not. Dickens has suggested that city residents contact AT&T for service inquiries, and not Atlanta’s emergency services system. The Massachusetts State Police echoed this sentiment, noting that customers had been flooding its 911 center with inquiries about cellular service. “Please do not do this,” the law enforcement agency wrote on X.

This is an ongoing issue and we’ll update this story when the service is restored or when AT&T issues an update on the cause.

Update, February 22 2024, 3:55PM ET: This story has been updated to reflect that AT&T has since restored its cellphone service nationwide.

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