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CUB statement on nationwide AT&T cellphone outage and tips for making calls

CUB Executive Director Sarah Moskowitz issues the following statement in response to AT&T’s nationwide wireless outage:

This is a serious outage impacting public services, including peoples’ ability to call 911 on their wireless phones. After a year when AT&T boasted record operating income due to its mobile service (about $26 billion) and has aggressively moved to disconnect its most vulnerable customers from landlines, the phone giant has some explaining to do. It owes the public a detailed and credible explanation for the cause of this nationwide outage.  (Read the full statement here.) 

If you can’t use your cellphone, consider these alternatives for calls you have to make:

  • Place a call using Wi-Fi. (According to AT&T, customers can activate the Wi-Fi calling function on their devices. When your phone is connected to Wi-Fi with the Wi-Fi calling function on, and a cellular connection is unavailable or poor, you may see a Wi-Fi calling icon in your device’s notification bar to indicate that calls will be carried over Wi-Fi. Read more about Wi-Fi calling here. )
  • Use a landline.
  • Check to see if friends have a landline or working cellphone service with
    another carrier.
  • Some iPhone users have seen SOS messages displayed in the status bar on their cellphones. Apple Support says: “When you see this message, your device isn’t connected to your cellular network, but you can make emergency calls through other carrier networks.”

Note: Do not call 911 to test your cellphone service. 911 is only for emergencies.

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