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AT&T apologizes for nationwide cellular outage

By Jake Beardslee · February 23, 2024

In brief…

  • AT&T cell service disrupted nationwide on Thursday due to network issue
  • Outage began around 3:30am ET, restored by 6pm; tens of thousands affected
  • AT&T says outage caused by "incorrect process" during network upgrade, not cyberattack
  • Company apologized, said keeping customers connected is "top priority"
AT&T experienced a major nationwide cellular outage on Thursday morning that disrupted service for tens of thousands of customers for several hours until being resolved by the evening.  Luismt94/Wikimedia

A major cellphone outage affected tens of thousands of AT&T customers nationwide on Thursday, causing widespread disruptions to service. The outage began around 3:30am ET and impacted customers in cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and New York. AT&T said that after an initial investigation, the company believes the outage was caused by “the application & execution of an incorrect process” during network expansions, and was not the result of a cyberattack.

Service was fully restored by around 6pm ET Thursday, according to AT&T. The company said in a statement, “Based on our initial review, we believe the outage was caused by the application & execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyberattack.” AT&T apologized for the disruption, saying keeping customers connected is their “top priority.”

The outage prevented users from making calls or sending texts. Customers reported loss of service on social media and outage tracking sites like The site showed over 73,000 user reports of problems at the peak of the outage.

The FBI and FCC said they were looking into the issue and that they were in contact with AT&T, according to Fox Business. A U.S. defense official told Fox News there was no signs that this was a cyberattack.

Verizon and T-Mobile also saw a spike in reported outages Thursday, but both companies said their networks were operating normally. They suggested customers may have had issues connecting with AT&T users during the outage.

The outage comes as AT&T has faced criticism over service quality. AT&T shares recently hit a 30-year low as customers have been cutting the cord on traditional cable and phone services.