AT&T Announces Full Service Restoration After Nationwide Outage

Following a significant service disruption that left tens of thousands of AT&T customers without cell service, the telecommunications giant announced on Thursday afternoon that its network is back to full operational status. This outage, notable for its broad impact, had customers across the country facing connectivity issues early in the day.

In an official statement, AT&T conveyed, “We have restored wireless service to all our affected customers. We sincerely apologize to them. Keeping our customers connected remains our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future.”

With a customer base exceeding 240 million, AT&T stands as the nation’s largest carrier. The scope of the outage was initially highlighted by Downdetector, a website specializing in tracking online service interruptions, which reported over 70,000 outages following the onset of disruptions just before 4 a.m. ET.

The precise cause of the outage remains undisclosed. However, amidst rising concerns, reports from ABC News revealed that federal agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, are investigating the possibility of a cyberattack being behind the disruptions. Despite these concerns, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby provided reassurance Thursday afternoon, stating that, according to AT&T, there is “no reason” to believe the outage was related to a cybersecurity incident.

During the outage, numerous AT&T customers reported that their phones had entered “SOS” mode, a feature indicating that the device is not connected to a cellular network yet can still place emergency calls. This mode, available on Apple’s iPhones in the United States, Canada, and Australia, became a temporary solution for affected users.

AT&T had initially advised its customers to utilize Wi-Fi calling features until the restoration of full service. Interestingly, the outage also indirectly affected users of other networks, with Cricket Wireless reporting over 13,000 outages, Verizon over 4,000, T-Mobile more than 1,900, and Boost Mobile approximately 700, according to Downdetector.

Both Verizon and T-Mobile, however, clarified that their networks were operating normally. They suggested that the outages reported on Downdetector probably stemmed from their customers attempting to communicate with AT&T subscribers, indicating a ripple effect of the AT&T outage across different carriers.

The disruption extended its impact to emergency services as well. In San Francisco, the local fire department reported issues regarding the ability of people to reach 911 services. “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 communicated through a post on X. They assured the public of their operational status and advised AT&T customers to seek alternative means to reach emergency services if necessary.

Similarly, the Massachusetts State Police reported an influx of calls from individuals testing the functionality of their 911 service from their cell phones. They advised against this practice, reassuring that if non-emergency calls could be successfully made, the 911 service would be operational as well.

The aftermath of the AT&T outage serves as a crucial reminder of our heavy reliance on digital connectivity and the ripple effects that can occur across different facets of daily life, including access to essential emergency services.

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