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AT&T outage live updates: Customers in the dark as phone networks across the US go offline

AT&T users facing cell service outages nationwide

AT&T has gone down, leaving people unable to make phone calls – including to 911.

The outage at the US’s biggest phone network led to warnings from emergency services and advice from companies to get around the issue.

The problems began early on Thursday. AT&T said it was aware of the issue and working urgently to fix it – but did not give any indication of why it had happened or when it might be resolved.

AT&T has around 250 million customers, making it the US’s biggest phone network by some distance.

Follow for all the latest on the outage below.

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iPhones offer communication through satellites

Recent iPhones (the 14 and 15) include a new satellite connectivity feature that lets them connect to the world through satellites rather than traditional phone connections. It’s explained here.

You should be able to use that even if you are part of the AT&T outage. But note that it’s mostly intended for emergency situations – and that it comes with its own restrictions, such as requiring sight of the sky.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 16:31

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WiFi calling isn’t the only way to avoid the phone network

AT&T has recommended that affected users get onto WiFi and use that to call people. (Instructions are below.)

But there are plenty of other ways of communicating without a phone connection, too. You can

It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of ways to use services without an active internet connection, too. You can download maps offline, for instance (Google has long allowed this, and Apple Maps has recently introduced it, too). And you can download music and videos onto your phone ready for any long journeys.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 16:29

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Customers compare situation to Leave The World Behind

It’s only a few months since the release of Leave The World Behind, Netflix’s film with a tag line that does feel a little familiar today:

Of course, there is internet, and most phones are still working. But it is a reminder that such an outage is possible.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 16:27

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Marco Rubio uses outage to stoke fear about Chinese cyber attacks

Florida senator Marco Rubio has used the outage to stoke fear about a Chinese cyber attack. At the moment there is nothing to indicate whether the outage was intentional.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 16:25

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Was outage caused by a solar flare?

Probably not, says Ryan French, an astrophysicist.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 15:59

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Other networks appeared to be hit by AT&T outage

On tracking website Down Detector, as well as in complaints on Twitter, customers at rival networks such as Verizon and T-Mobile are also complaining about an outage.

But it appears that is just an effect of the AT&T outage, and is happening because people on that network are unable to call others. Both Verizon and T-Mobile have denied that they are having issues.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 15:55

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Customers ask for credit in response to outage

Many of AT&T’s customers are calling on the company to offer some credit in return for the outage. (The network has apologised, but not yet said anything about whether there will be any kind of compensation.)

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 15:54

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Emergency services advise people to use other phones

This is a fairly representative message from emergency services across the US. They say they are aware of the problem and advise that people try different phones – and not to call 911 just to check whether it works.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 15:50

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Outage continues

Hours after it started, some AT&T customers still can’t get online. The company hasn’t said anything meaningful since it said that it had “identified” the problem – but it still doesn’t seem to be fixed.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 15:49

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How to use Wi-Fi calling

AT&T has advised affected customers to use WiFi calling. As the name suggests, that relies on WiFi and the internet to make calls, rather than the phone network. As such, it gets around the problems with the phone network (but does of course rely on you having access to a WiFi connection).

It’s turned on by opening up the Settings app on your iPhone or Android. Press “Cellular” on an iPhone or “Connection” on an Android, and then choose the WiFi calling option, which will allow you to turn it on and choose important settings.

Andrew Griffin22 February 2024 14:53


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