T-Mobile apologizes for network outage, says 'We didn't meet our own bar for excellence'
Update, June 16 (9:40 pm ET): T-Mobile issues apology for outage, claims it came from a circuit failure that cascaded.
Update, June 16 (1 am ET): T-Mobile's President of Technology, Neville Ray, says call and text capabilities have returned to normal.
Update, June 15 (11:15 pm ET): T-Mobile says it will take several hours to fix the issue, with an IP traffic related bug causing the outage.
What you need to know
- Users are reporting mobile network outages across all U.S. carriers, primarily with calling.
- T-Mobile's network seems to be the primary culprit, creating knock-on effects to other carriers.
- Issues spread throughout the U.S., starting around 2:30 p.m. ET.
If you're unable to make calls or use mobile data on your phone in the U.S. right now, you aren't alone. User reports directly to us, and on popular reporting site Downdetector, show outages across the country on T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Depending on the area of the country, customers are seeing issues ranging from intermittent data service and dropped phone calls all the way to completely failed networks with no connectivity.
The first widespread reports of outages started around 2:30 p.m. ET, and only took off from there. We heard from T-Mobile customers first, particularly those in the Eastern half of the country, who were having issues primarily with calls but in some cases also data. At least according to Downdetector reports, the issues ended up being far more widespread — both in areas of the country and number of users affected.
At 5:42 p.m., T-Mobile's customer support Twitter account responded, making it clear that the carrier is aware of a "routing issue" leading to call outages, and encouraging people to use internet-based calling services instead:
Our engineers are working to resolve a widespread routing issue affecting voice & text. Customers may experience longer care wait times. Please try third-party calling apps (FaceTime, WhatsApp, Signal) as a temp solution.Our engineers are working to resolve a widespread routing issue affecting voice & text. Customers may experience longer care wait times. Please try third-party calling apps (FaceTime, WhatsApp, Signal) as a temp solution.— T-Mobile Help (@TMobileHelp) June 15, 2020June 15, 2020
Reports from T-Mobile customers peaked around 5:00 p.m. ET and are on the decline, and we're also seeing a smaller number of reports from customers on the other major carriers showing they're experiencing similar issues across the major population centers of the country. Still, it looks like T-Mobile's the one with network-wide issues, with far more customer complaints of network disconnects, dropped calls and intermittent data.
And of course with T-Mobile clearly having massive calling outages, anytime calls between T-Mobile and the other carriers are unable to complete, this can often create false-positive results for the person on the other end thinking it's their carrier's problem. That situation can likely be attributed to a good number of the reports of outages on Verizon and AT&T, which have the largest number of customers in the country.
If you're experiencing problems with calls or data on T-Mobile, you can follow some general troubleshooting steps and try to use Wi-Fi calling — but chances are with a network outage this large, you're just going to have to wait for the carrier to fix things on its end.
Update, June 16 (9:40 pm ET) — T-Mobile issues an apology, cites circuit failure
T-Mobile's President of Technology, Neville Ray, has issued a blog post apologizing for the company's extensive outage on June 15. According to the post, engineers "found that our leased fiber provider in the Southeast had some circuit failures when routing calls and texts." Redundancies failed, causing an "overload" that "resulted in an IP traffic storm that spread from the Southeast to create significant capacity issues across the IMS (IP multimedia Subsystem) core network that supports VoLTE calls."
He says that steps have been put in place to prevent such an outage from happening again.
Update, June 16 (1 am ET) — T-Mobile confirms outage has been fully fixed
A late-night update from President of Technology Neville Ray says that the carrier has restored call and text capabilities completely. That brings to an end a network disruption that some customers experienced for well over 12 hours, which is an incredibly long outage to experience in any region — not to mention one that spanned across the country.
Update, June 15 (11:15 pm ET) — T-Mobile says its engineers will work through the night to fix outage
An update shared by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert suggests it will take several hours to fix the ongoing network outage. Sievert says an IP traffic-related issue created "significant capacity issues in the network core throughout the day," and that hundreds of engineers and vendor partner staff are working to resolve the issue, and that "our team will be working through the night as needed to get the network fully operational."
Get the Android Central Newsletter
Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.
Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.