FCC says T-Mobile hit with outage because it did not follow network best practices


Following T-Mobile’s serious network outage back in June, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pledged that he would investigate what caused the “unacceptable” outage. Today that report has come out.

Pai describes T-Mobile’s outage as a “failure”, saying that the FCC’s investigation found that T-Mo did not follow “several established network reliability best practices” that could have either prevented the outage completely or at least mitigated the impact it had on T-Mobile customers.

The outage was caused by an equipment failure and was exacerbated by a network routing misconfiguration, according to the FCC’s report. It goes on to say that the outage was magnified by a software flaw in T-Mobile’s network that had been latent for months and ended up interfering with T-Mobile customers’ ability to make or receive calls during the outage.

You can read the full FCC report here, which goes into much greater detail about what caused the outage and how it spread to become a nationwide issue.

The FCC estimates that during the outage which lasted more than 12 hours, at least 41% of all calls on T-Mobile’s network failed, including at least 23,621 failed calls to 911.

When asked about the FCC’s report, T-Mobile provided TmoNews with the following statement:

“We take our commitment to keep our customers connected seriously and our thousands of dedicated and passionate engineers are working to deliver for our customers every single day. Immediately following this incident back in June we took the necessary steps to address the issues that created the service interruption and remain committed to continual improvement.”

June’s outage was pretty serious for T-Mobile, starting in the southeast and spreading to the rest of the country. What’s more, it started in the middle of the day and lasted for the rest of the day, preventing people from making calls in the busy afternoon and evening hours. T-Mobile said in the days after the outage that it had added permanent safeguards to prevent this issue from happening again.

Source: FCC

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  • steveb944

    Did they also investigate the other major carriers?
    The worst part of this is all the 911 calls.

  • Boss Hogg

    Odd that Ray Neville has not addressed this on Twitter yet.

  • Eric A

    Once a company says “we take XYZ very seriously” you know they’re in butt covering mode.

  • riverhorse

    Yawn. Shiet happens, that’s life.
    This has occurred to all carriers at one time or another, even back in the landline days.
    Those who feel very vulnerable should have redundancies | backups in place. Carry either a dual sim phone or a second phone tablet on another carrier, or whatever. It’s extremely cheap to do. $20 at&t Connected Car, $15 Metro Tablet, $25 Visible, $0 TextNow… Each of those are completely Unlimited and each cover a different major carrier. To say nothing of b&m home & work phone & internet plus Public WiFis.
    Plus the satellites are practically here- and these I’m really looking forward to. They will really boost travel, outdoor exploration and remote living working.
    Hiking in particular is so risky- sprain your ankle in the middle of nowhere with no signal, you’re dead.
    And travel to many parts of the world with useless wifi and sporadic electric & cellular blackouts spotty coverage zones is a non-starter.

    • Philly Jim

      You can’t be serious

    • Shaun Michalak

      In a sense, what you said is true. The problem is, today, people are too reliant on technology. If they had to go back 100 years, they would go crazy and most would have a breakdown..Think about it.. how many people do you think could find their way around without GPS and only a paper map?? 10%?? of the people under 40??

      They made a comment that there was almost 24k failed calls to 911.. But I will bet if you limited each person to one call, and got rid of all the stupid calls, that number would drop to way less then half.. Because lets be realistic here.. When facebook went down a while back, 911 was getting bombarded with 911 calls from people complaining that facebook was down.. I could easily see the same person trying 911 10 times in a row because they did not get the hint that the first 9 times it did not go through, so most likely number 10 will not either.. and I could only imagine how many people tried calling 911 to complain that the cell service was out..

  • SirStephenH

    You know, if the regulations would have kept up with the technology then cell phones would fail-over 911 calls to another network instead of the 90s style roaming that we have right now.