Phones not working: AT&T and other services go offline in huge widespread network outage

A vast internet outage has left many across the US without access to their networks.

AT&T said it was working “urgently” to fix the problems, but that it could not say when they were back. While AT&T was the most widely affected, users of other providers including Verizon and T-Mobile reported issues with their phones.

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Those companies however said that their network was acting as normal. The issues were probably the result of Verizon and T-Mobile customers trying to call those on AT&T, the company suggested.

Teaching website Down Detector also registered problems at other online services including Google and Apple Support. But that too was probably at least partly a result of Down Detector’s automated systems registering complaints about phone service.

Down Detector showed the issues were happening right across the US. While more reports came from the Eastern and Central states, that may just be a consequence of time zones meaning that more customers in those regions are likely to be trying to use their phones.

The primary issues appeared to relate to phone calls, leaving people unable to make calls or send texts, though some reported issues with their internet service too. Affected phones showed the “SOS” message that appears when a network is down.

Even 911 calls are impacted by the outage. Emergency services across the country said they were monitoring the situation, encouraged anyone affected to call from a landline or use a friend or family member’s phone – and asked customers not to call 911 to test whether the system is working.

AT&T suggested that people affected by the problems could try WiFi calling, which allows phone calls and texts to be sent over the internet.

That setting needs to be manually turned on from within the settings on both Apple and Android devices. Instructions for doing so and information about the service can be found on AT&T’s website.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, vast numbers of customers sent messages to AT&T pleading for their service to be restored – with some suggesting they should receive some credit back for the outage.

“We understand how critical it is to remain in touch,” AT&T told customers. “We regret to inform you that some of our customers are having trouble with their wireless service this morning.

“We are doing our best to get their service back up and running as soon as possible.”

On its website, AT&T also advised that the outage was leading to “long hold times” as customers called up to find out what was happening. “We apologize for this inconvenience and we are working to resolve this issue,” it said.