T-Mobile 911 Outage Leads to Massive Failure of 23,000 Emergency Calls; Costs $19.5 Million

T-Mobile 911 Outage Leads to Massive Failure of 23,000 Emergency Calls; Costs $19.5 Million
Out of all the T-Mobile complaints filed, one of the most critical case is the June 2020 service outage that caused thousands of call failures with 911. T-Mobile agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle the issue. Photo : ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images

Out of all the T-Mobile complaints filed, one of the most critical case is the June 2020 service outage that caused thousands of call failures with 911. T-Mobile agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle the issue.

T-Mobile is arguably the largest and most popular telecommunications company in America. Their service features 5G network tie-ups to affordable cellphone plans or deals. Unfortunately, some customers would argue that the service is not worth it.

On top of having its systems hacked, which exposed over 100 million user information to malicious actors, T-Mobile services seem to be lacking in performance. Last year, they experienced a 12-hour outage which led to call congestion on 911 systems.

T-Mobile 911 Outage: Emergency Call Denied

According to Engadget, the T-Mobile outage affected thousands of emergency calls on the 911 line. Over 23,000 calls suffered a complete failure. About 20,000 of these calls didn't include callback information. Keep in mind that these emergency calls could be critical for customers, and yet the outage lasted for 12 hours!

T-Mobile said the outage was because of a fiber link in the network that went awry, and its routing flaw magnified the crisis. During the outage, T-Mobile engineers had a hard time accessing the impaired link.

On their investigations, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai pointed out that T-Mobile did not follow the established network reliability practices that could have mitigated the outage. This further led to poor performance and response from the telecommunications company.

This isn't the first time T-Mobile caused a 911 outage either. In 2014, two 911 service outages forced T-Mobile to pay $17.5 million for call failures.

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T-Mobile Pays $19.5 Million

On Tuesday, FCC released the order and consent decree in the matter of T-Mobile. They said "over 250 million calls ... from other service providers' subscribers to T-Mobile subscribers failed due to the outage" and "at least 41% of all calls that attempted to use T-Mobile's network during the outage did not complete successfully," per News18.

T-Mobile admitted its failures and agreed to pay $19.5 million in a settlement. The company also made new commitments to improve 911 outage notices. T-Mobile said, "we understand how critical reliable connectivity is to ensure public safety and we take that responsibility very seriously. We have built resiliency into our emergency systems to ensure that our 911 elements are available when they're needed," per Cnet.

T-Mobile also suggested for customers to attempt multiple calls whenever they experience ongoing outages. It might take users two to three attempts before they could get lucky enough to reconnect.

Many T-Mobile users hope that this development could force the company to improve its systems, security and services. However, since these are recurring problems that have already spanned for a few years, users might have to wait and see if changes will be made to prevent hacking and other outages.


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