AT&T’s Second Outage This Year is Ringing Alarm Bells for Some Customers

This month some AT&T customers experienced their second major outage this year, adding to the list of issues that could drive users away from the telecommunications company.

Tuesday Outage

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Last Tuesday one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, AT&T, experienced widespread outages starting from 1 pm Eastern Time and continuing for several hours.

AT&T and Verizon

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Though the company did not share the number of users who were directly affected, it has been confirmed that customers in at least 24 states could not make calls between carriers, particularly between AT&T and Verizon. 

What Customer Reports Showed

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Mass customer reports show that many people experienced dropped calls, failed internet connections, and calls that went through but could not properly transmit voices on the other end of calls. There were also reports that the outage disrupted some 911 calls.

Cities Most Affected

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Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh were the most affected cities.

AT&T’s Eventual Statement

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By 6 pm ET, customer reports had largely died down, and a statement was released by the telecommunications company addressing the issue.

The Issue is Resolved

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“The interoperability issue between carriers has been resolved,” a spokesperson said. “We collaborated with the other carrier to find a solution and appreciate our customer’s patience during this period.”

Second in Four Months

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This is the second outage from AT&T this year, which has left many customers feeling outraged and unsatisfied with the company’s services, and some industry experts are concerned.

February Outage

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In February a widespread AT&T service outage affected tens of thousands of customers across the country, disabling their ability to make phones, use the internet, and reach emergency services for up to 12 hours.

Compensations and Acknowledgements

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At the time, the company issued a $5 credit as compensation as it was the “average cost of a full day of service,” and stated that they recognized “the frustration this outage has caused and know we let many of our customers down.”

Abnormal Outages

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A Wireless Networking Laboratory director at Villanova University, named Mojtaba Vaezi, has described these two major outages as abnormal for a company of AT&T’s size, even if one-off outages are to be expected.

Longer Than 10 to 15 Minutes is “Alarming”

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He explained that the length of the outages was also a cause for concern. “If it’s something that’s happening with a software update dysfunctioning with some systems, usually they have back-ups and people working around the clock,” he said. “When it takes longer than 10 to 15 minutes, it is alarming.”

Waiting Hours for Company Response

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The lack of efficient and early communication from the company during last week’s outage was also a concern for customers, as it took representatives hours to reach out.

Silence is Never the Answer

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“Silence is almost never the right answer when users are involved,” University of Southern California communications professor Karen North. “People need to know what’s happening and when it’s going to be fixed.”

Lack of Communication and Compensation

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The short period between two significant outages a broad lack of communication and minimal compensation from the company could lead to a decrease in brand trust and loyalty from AT&T customers, she added.

Why Should They Be Trusted?

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“They need to put out a very clear message about why they should be trusted in the future to resolve this,” she continued.

It Isn’t Just a Phone

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“They probably need to show empathy for the fact that this isn’t just a phone. This is, professionally and personally, a lifeline for people to their families, their friends, and their businesses,” North concluded.

March Data Breach

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Customers are also still reeling from a massive data leak that occurred in late March, which saw the personal information of 73 million current and former AT&T users leaked on the dark web.

Data Security Concerns

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This information included Social Security numbers but no specific financial information. Still, it left many customers concerned about the security of their personal data under the company.

Possible Cyber Attack?

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Experts have also speculated that Tuesday’s outage could have been the result of a second cyber attack, this time on the country’s broader cellphone network infrastructure.

AT&T Refute the Claims

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However, an AT&T spokesperson responded to these claims the next day, stating that “yesterday’s issue was not the result of a cyber-attack,” and was actually “related to interoperability between carriers, which has since been resolved.”

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The postAT&T’s Second Outage This Year is Ringing Alarm Bells for Some Customers first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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