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National AT&T Outage Downs Phones, Internet With No Known Cause

Customers across the nation reported outages of call, text and Internet service. The incident prompted some emergency and police departments to issue advice to residents who were unable to place 911 calls.

Tens of thousands of mobile users reported call, text and Internet outages early Thursday in a nationwide incident impacting AT&T and other carrier customers. That incident prompted some cities to recommend alternative methods for those struggling to reach 911.

Around 9 a.m. ET this morning, 74,000 AT&T customers lacked access, per CNN. That number dropped to 25,000 by 12:30 p.m. ET as the company worked to restore its network.

By 1:30 p.m. ET, most of the users who’d reported outages to the website Downdetector within the past 24 hours were located in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, New York City and San Antonio.

The incident also impacted customers of AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless, which uses the parent company’s network. As of 8 a.m. ET, 13,500 Cricket Wireless customers were experiencing outages, NBC reported.

About 3,000 Verizon and 1,100 T-Mobile customers had reported outages by 7 a.m. Thursday, but the telecoms told NBC their networks were operating as normal and that they believed the impacted users had been trying to reach other carriers’ customers.

Beyond the inconvenience, the incident raises safety concerns. In some cities, emergency responders have been posting advice to residents who cannot reach 911 through their phones.

St. Joseph County, Mich., advised using Wi-Fi to make calls if normal methods don’t go through, and Cabell County, W.Va., recommended texting 911 if needed, per CNN. Prince William County, Va.’s Emergency Management Office also advised residents experiencing difficulties to use a landline, turn on Wi-Fi calling, try the county’s non-emergency line or borrow a cellphone from someone with another provider.

Similar advice was echoed across X by the San Francisco Fire Department and Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

And CNN said Upper Arlington, Ohio’s Fire Department is experiencing a disruption to its fire alarms as a result of the outage.

Some police departments also reported issues. New York Police Department officials told the outlet that they could not take calls or emails on AT&T phones during Thursday morning without first connecting to Wi-Fi.

And in Massachusetts, concerned residents were tangling up call lines.

According to AT&T, 75 percent of its network was restored by 11:15 a.m. ET today. It did not specify the cause of the incident.