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Mysterious Cellular Outage Sweeps Across US

Graham Perdue
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Tens of thousands of Americans — and perhaps more — spent at least part of Thursday frustrated by widespread cellular outages. Early in the day, AT&T reported over 60,000 customers were without phone service.

The major disruption also spread to Verizon and T-Mobile users.

Tracking site Downdetector noted that people in the Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio, Miami, Dallas, Louisville and Indianapolis areas reported being unable to call, text or access the internet using their phones.


Downdetector first reported widespread issues at 4:33 a.m. EST with over 32,000 outages. The disruptions decreased around 6 a.m. before surging to roughly 66,000 around 7:51 a.m.

Over 3,500 Verizon customers lost service along with nearly 1,500 T-Mobile customers. These two networks experienced outages in areas overlapping the much larger AT&T interruptions.

In San Francisco, the fire department reported early Thursday morning that it experienced service problems with residents unable to call 911. 

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, officials noted they were “aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including 911). We are actively engaged and monitoring this. The San Francisco 911 center is still operational.” 


Residents were further advised to use a landline where available.

The department, aware that landlines are now scarce, recommended finding a family member or friend with a different carrier to contact emergency responders.

Officials asked that customers not waste precious resources by testing their phones to see if they are able to call or text 911. 

Most affected cellular users, 54%, reported they had difficulties with mobile phone service. Over a third cited no phone service available, and 8% of customers said they were unable to access the internet on their mobile devices.

One customer quipped online, “Should get a stimulus check for this.” 

In a statement to Fox Business, AT&T acknowledged the situation. “Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored.”

There are sporadic reports of a solar flare being blamed for the disruptions, though as of yet there is no explanation on why it would mostly affect the southeastern U.S.