T-Mobile ‘ghost calling’ glitch causing long 911 hold times in Dallas


When you’re in an emergency situation, being able to contact 911 right away is important. However, an issue involving T-Mobile customers in Dallas is interfering with speedy 911 contact.

There’s an issue with T-Mobile customers in Dallas that end up with “ghost calls” when they try to contact 911. The glitch causes 911 systems to record calls as hangups, which results in 911 operators trying to respond to the ghost calls, which then causes other callers to be put on hold while the operators catch up.

The glitch is said to have first appeared back in October 2016, but didn’t cause any reported issues until January when a 911 caller said that they were on hold for 25 minutes. The city thought that they had fixed the problem in January, but then more issues sprang up in February. The Dallas Police Department alerted the public about the problem on February 7.

This past Saturday, it’s said that 442 callers were put on hold when trying to reach 911 and that the average wait time was 38 minutes. Bridget Alex blames the glitch for the death of her six-month-old son who fell off a bed. The babysitter called 911 multiple times and was on the line for as long as 31 minutes. Eventually Alex, who was attending a funeral, got home and drove the child to the hospital, but the child passed away. Alex blames the city and the T-Mobile glitch for her son’s death.

The Dallas Police Department is investigating the child’s death and says that the caller contacted 911 several times but hung up before speaking to anyone. 911 call takers returned each call but couldn’t reach the babysitter. The police also say that while they can confirm that the caller was using a T-Mobile phone, “there is no evidence at this time connecting the child’s death to the T-Mobile ghost call issue.”

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax recently spoke to T-Mobile CEO John Legere about this glitch, and today T-Mobile engineers arrived in Dallas to fix this issue.

An FCC spokesperson has said that the agency is reviewing this issue.

The City of Dallas says that it aims to answer all 911 calls within 10 seconds, so people being put on hold for 20 or 30 minutes is a big issue. It’s good that T-Mobile has now sent engineers down to Dallas to fix the issue, and hopefully they’ll get things fixed quickly. Below you can find a video of T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray giving us an update on the situation from Dallas, courtesy of Reddit user Brayden15.

Sources: CBS DFW (1), (2), ABC WFAA

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  • John Doe

    Really 5 month to fix the issue?!

    You know what the FCC does to carriers neglecting 911 calls? HUGE FINES!…even if it is not their fault.

    • Sayahh

      I’m keeping my landline in case of emergencies; unfortunately in some places in the US they are digging out the copper lines because, you know, capitalism. #smh

      • Steven

        I have my doubts

      • steveb944

        Most ‘land lines’ are just VOIP. Better to have a backup cellphone.

        • Sayahh

          I thought about getting a VOIP line but decided to keep my real landline. It should be copper wired because my service went out for 9 days and I got credited for it because it wasn’t my fault. I asked the at&t guy what was wrong and he told me that they used a wire that was too thin and it basically “rotted away” or something to that effect but he put in a thicker wire and that did the trick. I was not charged for the service call. And no, I don’t have the inside wiring maintenance plan.

        • steveb944

          Comcast barely helps us as is WITH the maintenance/warranty plan.

        • Sayahh

          I’ve heard that Comcast–and most, if not all cable companies–are awful. Ironically, I’ve haven’t had any problems with Time Warner Cable (or AT&T) even though TWC “won” worst company awards before.

        • Sayahh

          Most are, and I thought about changing my at&t (non U-verse) home phone service to the t-mobile home link (or whatever is called) VOIP “land line” for $10 per month but didn’t.

      • Michael Naughtin

        Do not good when the power is out or you have to leave. What you gonna do take your land line service everywhere you are.

        • Sayahh

          Phone lines are powered separately. Went the power went out for two days last year, my phone was still working. I can take my cell with me, but what good is portability when the cell towers are down, either physically or their power going out, as well.

  • rex2745

    How does a six month old fall off a bed?? Aren’t you supposed to prevent that by putting pillows on the outer part of the bed so the baby doesn’t roll over when sleeping.. What’s the point of hiring a babysitter if she can’t even watch the baby correctly babysitters literally only have one job

    • bkat11

      I agree. Babysitter is just as liable as anyone. Do they not own a crib?

      • Michael Naughtin

        Why would they do they have children? do they have a daycare center? Probably not that’s why they’re called babysitter

    • Mike

      Your missing the point idiot. Rather it be the baby situation or a woman about to be raped and murdered. T-Mobile customers couldn’t get thru to 911 this is a serious issue fool.

    • SBacklin

      I’m not going to hate or love your post. I see the entire thing as a two-pronged problem. Obviously, not being able to get through to 911 is a serious problem. However, so are careless babysitters. That baby should’ve been in a crib or on a bed surrounded to prevent this very thing.

  • Luis Hotdaddy Vasquez

    Wonder if Alex is using Internet Explorer to post updates on this page….?

    • Sayahh

      Wonder if you are human and can experience empathy, humility or care. Positive criticism exists–use it if you know how. Victim-shaming isn’t the way to go, and there’s nothing here that proves that it was (or wasn’t) T-Mobile’s and/or Dallas’ fault or perhaps due to infrastructure problems or incompatibility. I am not going to defend T-mobile. I do not have stock in their company, but do you have stock in Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or maybe Google Chrome? A child is dead. Go buy some class. Or would you rather have more tax cuts and fewer government services so that firefighters would also arrive late because of budget cuts or technological glitches? Look for solutions, not jokes. Leave that to the late-night professionals and Twitter amateurs.

      • Luis Hotdaddy Vasquez

        Who cares about Dallas!? And if they want a more efficient emergency system, they should stop giving government help to those children born here when their parents came illegally to the US… js!

        • Sayahh

          Because one day your wife might want to visit there? Only “illegals” call 911? Also, if we don’t care about the lead in the water in Flint, one day that might be your town, but I digress. And it’s about knowing that with budget cuts, anything could happen to you and your town without you knowing anything about it. Learn from others and their tragedies because it’s the only silver lining.

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  • Jason Caprio

    911 issues can happen with any carrier, so the best thing to do would be to save the local phone numbers of your nearest local/state police, fire department, and hospital JUST IN CASE 911 doesn’t work. Having those numbers could be the difference between life and death!

    • FWL

      The problem with that scenario is that not all departments or stations have people on station to answer the phones. Some are volunteer and do not staff people on station. The best thing to do is not hang up the phone and call back, you will just end up further down the line to be answered.

    • Omar Boyer

      It happend to At&t also in texas not that long ago calls to 911 werent working . So yes like u said it can happen with any carrier .

  • Acdc1a


  • David Spencer

    What’s not totally clear from the article is that while this is a T-Mobile problem, it isn’t only affecting T-Mobile customers. After each 911 call from a TMo phone the “system” somehow generates multiple spurious followup calls which show as hang-ups. The 911 operators are required to call these back in case it’s a genuine emergency and it is this extra effort that is causing the real problem.
    This is now the lead story on all the local news channels here. There are now two deaths associated with extended hold times. Apparently the Dallas mayor spoke to John Legere yesterday and the TMo CTO is in Dallas himself.

  • kgraham182

    Tmonews used to be my come to site for everything on John & Co. This has been reported on Reddit several weeks ago. People on reddit believe its a local switch problem.

  • steveb944

    I wonder if T-Mobile was aware months ago? If so they definitely would be liable given that it was a known issue.

  • mikeZo6

    wow pray for the family

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