Outage update: AT&T says network restored. FCC and Homeland security investigating

Wireless carrier AT&T says cellular service has been restored to thousands of customers who were without service for more than 10 hours on Thursday.

The outage included thousands of customers in North Carolina.

Nearly 63,000 AT&T customers had reported outages, according to DownDetector.com, a digital service tracking site that provides data on self-reported outages. The site reported a combined 5,100 customers from Verizon and T-Mobile also reporting outages, but both of those companies released statements Thursday afternoon saying they were not affected.

In a news release, Verizon said their network never experienced any outages.

“Some customers may have experienced issues this morning when calling or texting those served by another carrier,” the statement reads. “Our network continues to function normally.”

T-Mobile issued a similar statement Thursday, saying their network is “operating normally.”

AT&T outages across the US

The outages appear to have been mostly at AT&T, with some AT&T customers in the southeastern U.S. unable to place 911 calls, CNN reported early Thursday.

By midday Thursday, AT&T said “three-quarters” of their network has been restored. Soon after, the company announced that service had been fully restored.

“We are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future,” the company said in a statement on its website.

FCC and Homeland Security investigating

The Federal Communications Commission said it was investigating the incident, reported Reuters, and White House spokesman John Kirby said the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were also looking into the AT&T outage.

“We are being told AT&T has no reason to think this was a cyber or security incident,” said Kirby, as reported by Reuters. “But the bottom line is we don’t have all the answers.”

What does ‘SOS’ on phone mean?

Many customers without service are showing an “SOS” message on phones where cell bars are typically shown.

The “SOS” message means the device is searching for coverage, but customers should still be able to make emergency calls, Fox 35 Orlando report.

Using WiFi without cell service

Customers without cell service should be able to text if on WiFi but may not be able to make calls.

Texting in case of an emergency

Customers without cell service who are connected to WiFi can text 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field and include a brief message with the location of the emergency and type of help you need. Then press “Send.”

The City of Raleigh recommends that those who text emergency services:

  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker

  • Keep messages brief and concise

  • Avoid the use of abbreviations and emojis

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information is available.