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Cellular network outage affects thousands in US

Thousands of cell phone users in the U.S. were affected by a network outage, which disrupted calls, text messages and more.

The wireless carrier AT&T, whose 5G network covers around 290 million people across the country, has been grappling with interruptions to its service for more than eight hours.

“We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers,” AT&T said on its website. It did not provide a reason for the outage or the number of affected users.

The company’s shares were down 2.3% in late morning trading, with nearly 60,000 incidents of outages reported around 11:15 a.m. ET (4:15 p.m. GMT), according to tracking website

The outage has affected people’s ability to reach emergency services by dialing 911, according to posts on the X social media platform by government departments in several U.S. cities.

“We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911), the San Francisco Fire Department said on X.

The Prince William County Police Department in Virginia and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina posted similar statements on the platform.

Downdetector showed users of Verizon, T-Mobile and UScellular also faced disruptions.

But the companies said their network was operating normally and the outage was potentially related to customers trying to connect with other networks.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott of Florida said he had reached out to AT&T to get an update on the outage. “Florida law enforcement is doing everything it can to keep people safe, and I expect AT&T to keep us informed on what it is doing to get 911 services fully back online ASAP,” he said in a post on X.

The Federal Communications Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was investigating the outage.

In 2021, the regulatory agency settled a probe into a T-Mobile outage during the pandemic that lasted over 12 hours and led to more than 20,000 failed 911 emergency calls for $19.5 million.

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