Tech by VICE

Nationwide Outage Meant AT&T Customers Couldn't Dial 911

Police across the country reported the issue on Tuesday morning. Last year, AT&T was fined $5 million for outages that prevented 911 calls in 2017

by Joseph Cox
Jul 2 2019, 1:32pm

Image: Getty

Multiple police departments across the country reported an outage for AT&T on Tuesday morning, meaning customers on the carrier couldn't dial 911. The issue has since been resolved, according to AT&T.

"Approx an hour ago Minneapolis was made aware that AT&T is experiencing a 911 outage resulting in their customers unable to be directly connected to 911," Minneapolis Police tweeted early Tuesday morning. "Be advised this outage is a nation-wide issue affecting AT&T customers," the department added in a follow-up tweet.

"AT&T is experiencing interruptions or degradation to wireless 911 calls and/or wireless phase one/two location information. We will update when service returns to normal," Bellingham Police tweeted.

The Tarrant County 911 District reported the outage in a tweet as well, Dallas News reported. In one of its tweets, the Minneapolis Police temporarily provided an alternative number for people to ring.

Do you know anything else about this case? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on, or email

An AT&T spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement "Earlier this morning some wireless customers may have been unable to connect to 911. This has been resolved and we apologize to anyone who was affected."

This isn't the first time this has happened. In 2017, police departments across the country reported a nationwide AT&T outage that interrupted 911 calls. In fact, there were two outages that year, in March and in May, that together resulted in over 15,000 failed 911 calls. The Federal Communications Commission investigated, and in 2018 fined the company $5.5 million USD.

Spokespeople for the FCC weren't immediately available to comment.

Subscribe to our new cybersecurity podcast, CYBER.

911 calls
emergency responders