Cellphone service outage impacts tens of thousands of AT&T customers nationwide

Cellular service was spotty nationwide Thursday morning, with many AT&T customers reporting a total outage that left them unable to connect to the internet or place phone calls.

While it’s unclear exactly how many people experienced a disruption, tens of thousands reported issues with AT&T through downdetector.com, an online platform dedicated to providing users with real-time information about the status of websites and services.

By around 4 a.m., more than 32,000 AT&T customers had complained of outages, but that figure rapidly increased, peaking at more than 74,000 around 9 a.m. Most of the issues were reported in Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta, though some in and around New York City also reported problems.

On its website, AT&T — the nation’s largest carrier with more than 240 million subscribers — also highlighted San Diego, Richmond, Va., and Milwaukee as impacted areas, with the initial cause listed as “maintenance activity.”

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning,” AT&T said in a statement shortly thereafter, adding that 75% of its network had been restored. “We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.”

The company was also addressing customers directly online.

“I’m trying to go to work bro. I need that service, we ain’t got no WiFi,” one person wrote in a post on X.

A spokesman replied: “Hi there, I understand the importance of active services. Please contact us on DM to have a deeper look into your case.”

Several police departments and agencies nationwide were forced to acknowledge the difficulties early Thursday. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina said customers were “briefly unable to contact 911” during the outage, while the San Francisco Fire Department confirmed it was aware of issues impacting AT&T users who were trying to connect with first responders.

“We are actively engaged and monitoring this,” the fire department said. “If you are an AT&T customer and cannot get through to 911, then please try calling from a landline.”

Customers with other service providers similarly complained of issues, though in far smaller numbers. T-Mobile and Verizon said their networks were unaffected by AT&T’s service outage, and customers reporting outages were likely struggling to reach those who rely on AT&T.

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in a statement to CNN, said it was “working closely with AT&T to understand the cause of the outage and its impacts, and stands ready to offer any assistance needed.” The agency added they had not yet uncovered any indication of a cyberattack or hack.