AT&T Says Outage Technical Error


AT&T suffered a major service outage early Thursday morning, with thousands of customers across the country reporting outages on its wireless network.

Initially, the cause of the outage was unknown and rumors of a cyberattack began to spread. However, AT&T swiftly released a statement dismissing these allegations, stating that their “initial review” indicated a “coding error” was to blame.

The company, which is the largest wireless carrier in the country, apologized for the inconvenience and urged customers to use Wi-Fi calling until service was fully restored.

Despite AT&T’s assurances that this was not a cyberattack, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI were quick to launch investigations into the incident. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also announced that its Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau would be looking into the matter.

But it wasn’t just government agencies that were concerned about the outage. White House national security adviser John Kirby commented that they were working with the industry to investigate the issue, but also stated that AT&T had “no reason to think” it was a cybersecurity incident.

AT&T’s outage tracker, Downdetector, reported over 70,000 outages in locations including Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago at its peak. Other carriers, such as Verizon and T-Mobile, also had reports of issues but quickly clarified that their networks were functioning normally and the issues were likely due to customers trying to connect with AT&T users.

The outage caused havoc for AT&T customers, with iPhone users even seeing an SOS message on their phone screens. This message indicates that the device is having difficulty connecting to their cellular network, but can make emergency calls through other carriers. This added an extra layer of frustration for affected customers.

With the FCC, DHS, and FBI all launching investigations into the outage, it is clear that the issue was not a minor glitch, but a major malfunction within AT&T’s network. The company’s explanation of a “coding error” may seem like a convenient excuse, but until further information is released, we can only take their word for it.

This outage not only caused inconvenience for customers but also raised concerns about the reliability and security of our telecommunication networks.

The Hill | AP News