AT&T outage hits thousands in US, disrupting cellular services

February 22, 2024 – 7:30 AM PST

(Reuters) – A cellular phone service outage on Thursday hit thousands of AT&T (T.N) users in the United States, disrupting calls and text messages as well as emergency services in major cities, including San Francisco.


AT&T said some of its customers were facing interruptions and it was “working urgently” to restore service. “We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored,” it said.

More than 73,000 incidents were reported around 8:15 a.m. ET (1315 GMT), and the outage has lasted at least five hours, according to tracking website

AT&T, whose shares were down 2.5% in morning trading, is among the dominant telecom operators in the U.S. Its 5G network covers 290 million customers across the country, according to the company’s website.

The outage has affected people’s ability to reach emergency services by dialing 911, according to posts on the X social media platform by government departments in several U.S. cities.

“We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911), the San Francisco Fire Department said on X.

The Prince William County Police Department in Virginia and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina posted similar statements on the platform.

Downdetector showed users of Verizon (VZ.N), T-Mobile (TMUS.O) and UScellular (USM.N) also faced disruptions.

But T-Mobile and Verizon said their network was operating normally and the outage was potentially related to customers trying to connect with other networks.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott of Florida said he had reached out to AT&T to get an update on the outage.

“Florida law enforcement is doing everything it can to keep people safe, and I expect AT&T to keep us informed on what it is doing to get 911 services fully back online ASAP,” he said in a post on X.

The Federal Communications Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was investigating the outage.

In 2021, the regulatory agency settled a probe into a T-Mobile outage during the pandemic that lasted over 12 hours and led to more than 20,000 failed 911 emergency calls for $19.5 million.

Reporting by Aditya Soni and Harshita Mary Varghese in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; additional reporting by Nilutpal Timsina and Arsheeya Bajwa; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Anil D’Silva, Arun Koyyur and Jonathan Oatis

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