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June 16, 2020, 1:36 p.m. EDT

FCC calls T-Mobile’s long service outage ‘unacceptable’

T-Mobile’s had a nationwide outage on Monday that lasted for several hours

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By Associated Press

Bloomberg News/Landov
Signage is displayed outside a T-Mobile US Inc. store in Peru, Illinois, U.S.

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the U.S. communications regulator said T-Mobile’s nationwide, hours-long outage Monday was “unacceptable” and that the Federal Communications Commission will investigate.

T-Mobile /zigman2/quotes/204659678/composite TMUS +3.54%  , one of the country’s three largest cellphone service providers, said it had a “voice and text wireless issue” that began around noon EDT Monday. The company said at 1 a.m. Tuesday that all problems should be resolved.

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The company blamed an internet-traffic issue that caused problems with its network for the outage.

AT&T /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +1.19%   and Verizon /zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite VZ +1.02%   both said their networks were operating normally. But calls between their customers and T-Mobile customers could have run into trouble because of T-Mobile’s issues, creating the impression of a widespread communications failure.

The FCC has fined telecom companies in the past for network outages. T-Mobile paid a $17.5 million fine for two nationwide service outages on the same day in August 2014, which together lasted three hours and prevented customers from being able to call 911.

Public-safety officials were worried about lack of access to 911 on Monday as well. For example, the Redmond, Washington, police department tweeted that T-Mobile customers should have “an alternate plan in place in the event you need to call 911.”

T-Mobile became one of the country’s largest carriers, along with AT&T and Verizon, after buying rival Sprint. The company has started integrating the two networks.

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