Americans Nationwide Impacted By Sudden Cell Service Outage

A disruption in cellular service impacting primarily AT&T customers on Thursday frustrated at least tens of thousands of customers and fueled concerns about a possible cyberattack on U.S. infrastructure.

The first reports of outages began to show up online around 3:30 a.m. and the number of complaints continued to climb throughout the day. Verizon and T-Mobile customers reported interruptions, though at a much lower rate than those with AT&T service.

Although service had been restored to many affected customers by Thursday afternoon, AT&T’s reluctance to offer an explanation left many customers upset and confused.

Company spokesperson Jim Greer acknowledged the widespread service disruption but did not provide additional details.

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning,” he said. “We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored.”

Outage reports were recorded in communities nationwide, but hotspots were identified in several major cities, including Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Texas, and Miami, Florida.

The San Francisco Fire Department in California responded to reports of interruptions that even prevented emergency calls.

“We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911),” the department stated. “We are actively engaged and monitoring this. The San Francisco 911 center is still operational.”

One option the agency recommended involved “calling from a landline,” though such service has been steadily declining nationwide over the past several decades. A report last year indicated that nearly three-fourths of U.S. households no longer have a landline — a total that is three times higher than in 2010.

“If that is not an option then please try to get ahold of a friend or family member who is a customer of a different carrier and ask them to call 911 on your behalf,” the department added. “Do not call or text 911 to simply test your phone service.”

AT&T provided an additional statement to Fox Business Thursday morning, though it also contained no information about a possible cause.

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning,” the statement began. “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.”