Connectivity

AT&T CEO says carrier must ‘do better’ following massive network outage

The disruption, attributed to an internal error, lasted roughly 12 hours last week.
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AT&T CEO John Stankey apologized Sunday for a nationwide service disruption that prevented AT&T customers from making or receiving phone calls.

In a letter to employees that was released publicly, Stankey acknowledged that the outage, while not nefarious, was frustrating and disappointing.

“While it is not unexpected to encounter challenges as we enhance and expand our network, we have processes and redundancies in place for a reason,” he wrote. “We owe it to our customers and ourselves to do better.”

Stankey also noted that the company is crediting affected accounts with $5, an amount the company said is equal to roughly a day of service.

The network began faltering in the wee hours of Thursday morning, showing customers SOS mode, which only allows emergency phone calls, if any at all. At the height of the outage, more than 60% of customers across states including California, Texas, Florida, and New York experienced the disruption, according to data from Opensignal.

Despite some speculation that AT&T could have fallen victim to a cyberattack, the company said the error was solely an internal one.“Based on our initial review, we believe that [Thursday]’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack,” according to a “network update” note on AT&T’s website. “We are continuing our assessment of [the] outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.”

The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates telecom carriers, said Thursday on X that its Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau was “actively investigating” the outage. A spokesperson declined to comment further as the agency’s probe is ongoing.

A note on AT&T’s website said that the carrier had restored service to everyone affected by around 3pm ET.

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