Speculation Arises as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile Experience Service Interruptions

(UnitedHeadlines.com) – After many AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile customers lost cell reception Feb. 22, speculation arose over the reasons for the service interruptions.

It was mostly AT&T customers who were affected by the outage, which even prevented some police departments from receiving 911 calls. While some customers could not make calls, some customers were stuck in “SOS Mode,” which only allows calls to emergency services.

Though Verizon and T-Mobile customers were affected by the outage, it appeared the problems with Verizon customers were related to issues they had when trying to call people with AT&T service, according to a spokesperson for Verizon.

Initially, the cause of the outage was thought to be the sun releasing two solar flares. However, Dr. Ryan French from the National Solar Observatory noted that the side of the Earth facing the sun is usually the only side affected by solar flares.

There was also speculation of a potential electromagnetic pulse attack, though many, including Glenn Beck and Sen. Marco Rubio, pointed out that an electromagnetic pulse attack would cause more of a disruption than a cell reception being lost. Though the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating the outage, White House spokesman John Kirby said there is no reason to think it had any connection to a cyberattack.

According to a statement from AT&T, there were no signs of intentional tampering, and the service interruption resulted from a glitch in their system. In a statement, the company said the 13-hour disruption was caused by “an incorrect process” being used while the company was expanding its network.

Despite the company’s statement, some users on Twitter were critical, saying they did not believe the outage was caused by “incompetence or a single node failure.”

The incident is under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission. According to the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, Eric Goldstein, the agency is also working “to understand the cause of the outage and its impacts.”

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