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Sahasra Vemula
AT&T service lost on February 22nd

Communication is a huge and important part of society today. With modern technology, millions of people have the ability to send text messages, photos, emails, and more via their cell phones. On top of this, cell phones give people a quick way to access news and urgent information. However, on February 22, 2024, this was not the case for AT&T users due to a nationwide outage in their service.


It was agreeably strange for its users to wake up and see “SOS” at the top of their screens, rather than the typical WiFi and data symbols displayed. AT&T customers were clearly upset over this technical difficulty. Because of it, thousands of people lost access to their data for multiple hours. In fact, more than 32,000 outages were reported at 4 a.m, but this number only grew as it increased to over 50,000 by 7 a.m. By the next hour, it spiked even more to over 70,000 outages recorded. The areas most affected were reported to be Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. AT&T acknowledged it, stating, “Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning.”


However, AT&T wasn’t the only service experiencing complications. T-Mobile, Verizon, and Cricket Wireless also reported service failures. This worried thousands since it seemed strange for a few companies to simultaneously lose service. It made more sense for Cricket Wireless to be affected, considering that it’s owned by AT&T itself. Although, seeing that not only AT&T users were impacted sparked concern, and for good reason. With AI advancing, people have more anxiety about the usage of their personal technologies.


Since then, AT&T hasn’t released much information aside from describing the issue as an error in coding, with no further elaboration. After cellular services were restored the following morning, customers were offered $5 credit toward them. Although, not everyone is happy with this solution. “I couldn’t text anyone, I couldn’t use my social media, I couldn’t do anything that required data,” says SHS sophomore Jeremiah Petrie, “It sucked because I couldn’t text my parents or friends, and it was all so unexpected. I’m happy it was fixed, but I don’t think a $5 credit suffices for such a major outage that affected so many. There are better ways to credit the customers.”


It’s not surprising that many people had questions regarding this problem. People were wondering, was this outage a cyberattack? As for the company, they have not released anything regarding confirmation about an attack. According to the U.S Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, however, there was no clear indication of a cyberattack, fortunately. 


SHS students feared the possibility of a cyberattack. Aleysha Bello, a junior, says, “When my service wouldn’t work, obviously I was concerned. It wasn’t just a little issue that was fixed in a few minutes, I literally couldn’t do anything that needed data for hours. Of course when I saw there was an outage on the news I worried for myself, because there’s always a chance that things like that can happen. The internet is a scary place in my opinion, so a cyberattack is one of the first things that came to mind when I realized how many people this affected.”


This issue was significant in its impact as so many people lost access to their key way of communicating and navigating their day, but AT&T users are now grateful to have things back to normal and fixed up. The company stated, “Keeping our customers connected remains our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future.”

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