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Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers

Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers
A cellular phone tower is shown on Monday, May 22, 2017 in High Ridge, Mo. A number of Americans are dealing with cellular outages Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, on AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and other service providers, according to data from Downdetector. Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

A number of Americans are dealing with cellular outages on AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and other service providers, according to data from Downdetector. AT&T, who was the hardest hit, is actively working to restore service to all of its customers.

AT&T had more than 58,000 outages around noon ET, in locations including Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. The outages, which began at approximately 3:30 a.m. ET, peaked at around 73,000 reported incidents. The carrier has more than 240 million subscribers, the country's largest.

"Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored. We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers," AT&T and Cricket said in a statement.

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, had more than 9,000 outages, Downdetector said Thursday.

Verizon had more than 2,000 outages and T-Mobile had more than 1,400 outages. Boost Mobile had about 700 outages.

"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," Verizon said.

T-Mobile said that it did not experience an outage.

Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers
A man uses a cell phone in New Orleans on Aug. 11, 2019. A number of Americans are dealing with cellular outages on AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and other service providers, according to data from Downdetector, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. Credit: AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File

"Our network is operating normally. Down Detector is likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks," T-Mobile said.

Some iPhone users have seen SOS messages displayed in the status bar on their cellphones. The message indicates that the device is having trouble connecting to their cellular provider's network, but it can make emergency calls through other carrier networks, according to Apple Support.

So far, no reason has been given for the outages. But Lee McKnight, an associate professor in the iSchool at Syracuse University, believes the most likely cause of the outage is a cloud misconfiguration, or human error.

"A possible but far less likely outcome is an intentional malicious hack of ATT's network, but the diffuse pattern of outages across the country suggests something more fundamental," McKnight said in an emailed statement.

  • Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers
    An AT&T retail location is shown in Willow Grove, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. A number of Americans are dealing with cellular outages on AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and other service providers, according to data from Downdetector, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. AT&T, who was the hardest hit, is actively working to restore service to all of its customers. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
  • Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers
    A woman looks at her phone while watching the sun set as triple-digit heat indexes continue in the Midwest Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. A number of Americans on Thursday, Feb. 22, 204, are dealing with cellular outages on AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and other service providers, according to data from Downdetector. AT&T, who was the hardest hit, is actively working to restore service to all of its customers. Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File
  • Americans reporting nationwide cellular outages from AT&T, Cricket Wireless and other providers
    A Verizon retail location is shown in Willow Grove, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. A number of Americans are dealing with cellular outages on AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile and other service providers, according to data from Downdetector, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

For those still impacted by the outage, Alexander Wyglinski, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, says that there is a possible workaround.

"A lot of cell phones do Wi-Fi calling. So, as a potential backup, if you are close to a wi-fi access point, you may be able to use that if you are affected by the network outage," he said in an emailed statement.

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