T-Mobile Faces FCC Investigation After Extended Outages Paralyze Voice, Text Services Across US

T-Mobile said it was working to fix a widespread "voice and data issue" and the service would be back to normal at the earliest.

T-Mobile users across the United States have been reporting widespread outage since Monday. Customers have been reporting that they cannot make or receive calls although data appears to be unaffected. Users across the country took to Twitter to highlight the outage.

T-Mobile said that it was working to fix a widespread "voice and data issue" and the service would be back to normal at the earliest. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) slammed the company and will extensively probe into the matter that had almost paralyzed life in the United States on Monday.

Millions of Users Affected

By Monday afternoon more than 100,000 T-Mobile customers complained taht they cannot make or receive calls. Reuters

T-Mobile customers across the United States were reporting on Monday that they were unable to make and receive calls, and sometimes text messages. The outage started around 9-10 am (12-1 pm ET) and continued for the rest of the day. The service provider was having widespread network issues across the United States and initially, even the company was unsure about what the technical glitch was.

By Monday afternoon, service-tracking site Down Detector received more than 100,000 reports of the outage. However, in tests on Monday afternoon, T-Mobile's data services appeared to be working normally but the network snapped suddenly. Most of the outage reports were from Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Tampa, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, according to Downdetector.

T-Mobile immediately addressed the issue, with the company's technology president Neville Ray tweeting on Monday afternoon that T-Mobile engineers were working on the issue and would soon fix the problem. At 6 pm Ray tweeted that the problem was fixed and the data services were back. However, calls and text messages were still having problems.

The other two major service providers in the United States, Verizon and AT&T, said that their networks were operating normally. Customers were also facing problems in calling emergency services like 911. Harris County Sheriff's Office in Texas and the police department in Redmond, Washington, tweeted that the outages were affecting some people from calling 911 and they should have an alternate plan in place in case they needed police help.

FCC Slams T-Mobile

T-Mobile and Sprint
T-Mobile became one of the country’s largest carriers along with AT&T and Verizon after buying Sprint. Reuters

T-Mobile became one of the country's largest carriers along with AT&T and Verizon after buying Sprint. The company had 86 million users at the end of 2019. The FCC, which oversees voice and data services in the United States, fumed at T-Mobile following the outage. The FCC said that it will be launching a probe immediately to find out the reason behind the widespread disruptions.

"The T-Mobile network outage is unacceptable. The @FCC is launching an investigation. We're demanding answers - and so are American consumers," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai twitted. If proved guilty, T-Mobile might also be fined. This isn't the first time that T-Mobile has had a similar issue related to network disruption. The company earlier had to pay a fine of $17.5 million for two nationwide service outages on the same day in August 2014, which together lasted three hours and even barred customers from calling up 911.