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Thousands of cellphone users nationwide – including many in Mass. – had service outages Thursday

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By Steve Freker


Thousands of cellphones were shut down for hours Thursday morning with cellular outages on most of the major service providers, including AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, Consumer Cellular and Boost Mobile, according to reports. Local police in some departments in the Advocate readership area as well as Mass. State Police reported being flooded with calls from citizens attempting to check their connectivity. According to reports, this was an issue nationwide as well and public safety officials were urging cellphone users to wait it out and not endanger others by tying up communication centers with these issues. They stressed it was a provider issue, not a police matter.

According to an online news report, AT&T – the nation’s largest cellphone service provider, with 240 million subscribers – had more than 64,000 outages this morning, in locations including Houston, Atlanta and Chicago.

The outages began at approximately 3:30 a.m. Eastern time Thursday and continued into the day.

“Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored,” AT&T said in an online statement.

Cricket Wireless had more than 13,000, the outage tracking website said Thursday. Verizon had more than 4,000 outages and T-Mobile reportedly had more than 1,900 outages. Boost Mobile had about 700 outages.

“Verizon’s network is operating normally. Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation,” Verizon said.

T-Mobile said that it did not experience an outage, though it was reported as such by a national tracking group, Down Detector. “Our network is operating normally. Down Detector is likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks,” T-Mobile said.

As of midday Thursday, no reason had been given for the outages. Speculation as to possible “hacking” of the system by outside parties was not confirmed at Advocate press time yesterday.

Emergency call centers in some cities and states went down due to the outages, due to the thousands and thousands of calls they received related to this incident. There were no reports of this happening in the Advocate readership area of Everett, Malden, Revere and Saugus as of press time Thursday.

The Massachusetts State Police posted on X, formerly Twitter, that some 911 call centers were getting “flooded with calls” from people testing to see if they could successfully place an emergency call. The agency told residents not to place tests calls, saying that if nonemergency calls connect, 911 calls will as well. “Many 911 centers in the state are getting flooded w/ calls from people trying to see if 911 works from their cell phone. Please do not do this. If you can successfully place a non-emergency call to another number via your cell service then your 911 service will also work. #outage,” the Mass. State Police post read.

According to an online report, Mass. State Police said in a separate post that they had been in contact with AT&T about the outage and encouraged those without service to use a landline if possible in case of emergency.

Cellphone providers were also reporting an extreme amount of calls being placed to their service centers, causing lengthy wait time for operators to address individual requests and answer questions.

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