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Cricket, AT&T offer $5 Credit Per Line Compensation for Nationwide Cell Phone Outage:

Still No Explanation for Outage that began 2 PM Friday 5/27, to 7 AM Saturday 5/28

Update: Cricket Wireless has still offered no explanation for the nationwide cell phone outage that began 2 PM on Friday, May 27 and lasted until 7 a.m. PST on Saturday, May 28, 2016. However, they are offering a credit of $5 per line to each customer. You do have to call 611 from your phone and ask for it, and then wait on hold while some dude in Costa Rica processes the refund. That $5 per line, so in my case, it was $25.

It was an unprecedented national cell phone outage that began at 2 PM PST Friday and lasted for 17 hours. Subscribers of AT&T and Cricket Wireless were suddenly unable to use the internet, nor to make nor receive phone calls. People from San Diego to New York City, from Tampa to Tacoma, from Louisiana to South Dakota left us comments to say their cell service remained out, even as midnight came and Saturday dawned.

Update: Saturday 11 PM PST: Cricket sends the following text message to subscribers: "Cricket Wireless here thanking you for your patience while we resolved issues that may have affected some of your services Friday night. We apologize. We know you depend on your service and we failed to meet those expectations last night. We commit to working harder to keep you connected."

AT&T and Cricket Wireless customers were both affected, which makes sense since they share the same network. The outage seemed to be affecting outgoing calls as well as incoming. Verizon and T Mobile appear to be operating normally in most regions.

As Friday afternoon turned into evening and then night, affected readers could not access Uber, Lyft, Waze or banking apps, and could not call friends or relatives to drive them home from work. Modern life runs on smartphone apps, and in the words of Joni Mitchell, you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Businesses lost money, unable to receive calls from customers. Social events were missed, including weddings and funerals.

Please share this story on social networks such as Facebook, as that may pressure the carriers to come forward with more information.

The outage occurred around 2 PM in California, and the company first tweeted about it at 4 PM PST: "We are aware of a service issue affecting some customers & are working quickly to resolve it. We apologize for this inconvenience." Calling Cricket Wireless' customer service 1800 Cricket number, yielded only a fast busy signal.

Given the lack of information coming from the carriers, many are speculating wildly about what -- or who -- could cause such a wide scale, long lasting outage. The outage was barely mentioned in national media, which added to conspiracy theorizing.

Our Readers Tell Us

One of SMOBSERVED.COM's Colorado readers reports his Cricket cell phone service is out in Denver. Readers in Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington and in Arkansas also report their Cricket Wireless is out. So the outage appears to be national. One reader in Chicago, IL reports no service for 2 hours. "Out here East of Dallas" a Texas reader posted. "I have data, but phone and text aren't working. 19:00CST"

In comments, our California readers reported service outages in Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa and San Diego. Readers across the United States told us of cell phone outages including Seattle, WA, Aurora, IN, Raleigh NC, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Akron OH, Orlando FL, Nashville, TN, Pittsburg, PA, Atlanta, GA, Dallas, TX, Sedona, AZ; Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, TX; Las Vegas, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C.

"I'm in Utah and Cricket phone service seems to be out across the State. I've been searching online and it pretty much looks like it's out across the country as well," writes one of our readers. "I'm in Wichita, KS and service seems to be out across the state. This is so exasperating!" writes Alyssa. "It would be nice to know why this is happening and more importantly, when/if its going to be fixed..."

"The same here in Arizona," wrote "Margedarlin" at 5:15 PM PST. "I went into a cricket store they say it's happening all over. I was told there is a tower down & it knocked the service out. I was told it would be back on by Saturday if not sooner."

A Texas reader also heard about the downed tower from his local store: "Outage here in San Antonio Texas too since about 4:30pm !! Called store was notified towers were done and they weren't sure when it was coming back up. Would be nice if they gave an approximate time. The fact that they don't know when is concerning. Were they hacked??!!"

Quiped Don Doolin: "In Omaha no service since 4:30pm. I guess if I want to hear a cricket I'll have to go outside. Come on Cricket get it together huh?" Other comments saw a lighter side to the story, too. "Maybe there will be a baby boom in 9 months. A 21st century blackout. Put down the phone people! Candy Crush and Instagram can wait till tomorrow. Life is happening if you just look away from your phone screen."

"In Santa Rosa, CA. Service Flickers out Around 3:10 PM PST. Service is unavailable currently despite this phone displaying 2-3 bars and the cricket service indicator in the top left corner. Still a busy signal at customer support. The time is 5:25. Thank you and good luck!"

Switchgod writes: "Having worked Network Operations for Cricket for 8 years before the AT&T M&A, this is an absolute embarrassment for AT&T. Incredibly, this is the only article I've been able to locate on the net regarding this outage. I'm currently in Morgantown. WV and my wife's Cricket service is out. When manually forcing the phone to search for the AT&T network, the error message Network not available pops up. Luckily I now work for another wireless carrier. AT&T SUCKS!!!"

Poignantly, one woman wrote: "I live in Michigan and no service. Really upset because my mom is in the hospital and ended up coding(dying) today and I couldn't call any family or friends for support. I've been sitting at the hospital alone trying to come to my senses. Very unhappy with the situation.....I'm so over today." An expectant grandmother in Chicago couldn't contact either of her two pregnant daughters.

Some readers say Verizon is also affected, but we have not been able to confirm this assertion. Apple suffered a serious outage of their online services such as iCloud and iTunes on Thursday, but there is no evidence indicating the Apple outage and the AT&T outage today are somehow connected.

Update 7AM PST Saturday from the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Service has been fully restored for Cricket customers,” Ann Elsas, spokeswoman for Cricket Wireless parent company AT&T, said in a statement Saturday. “Technicians worked around the clock to resolve the issue and service is currently running normally. We apologize for this inconvenience.”

Update: Saturday 6:53 AM PST: #CricketNation tweeted, "Service has been fully restored. Technicians worked around the clock to resolve the issue. We sincerely apologize."

About Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless is a prepaid wireless service provider in the United States. Cricket Wireless offers voice, text, and data and is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T Inc. As of 2011, it provided prepaid wireless services to approximately 5 million subscribers in the United States.

Cricket Wireless was founded in 1999 by Leap Wireless International, Inc. On July 12, 2013, AT&T Inc. agreed to acquire Cricket's parent company Leap Wireless International for $1.2 billion. The merger was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on March 13, 2014, and later that same day, Leap Wireless announced the completion of its acquisition by AT&T.

Disclosure: The writer and his family pay for service through Cricket Wireless.


Reader Comments1 — 50 of 251

Fox3699 writes:

Because of Cricket's SNAFU I was fired from my job. An emergency came up at work and I had to be there. I do not have an understanding boss-he thought I was ducking him. I have since tried to call Cricket customer care-an oxymoron(heavy on the moron) was on hold 30 minutes at a time(8 times)and I tried calling corporate only to NO avail. Can someone please give me a number to call to talk to a live person within the Corp. realm of Cricket?

Nemo writes:

It's just that I had to buy a new phone because the AT&T acquisition wouldn't allow me to use the old flip phone I had before that. Ok, I have been keeping current phones now, smart phones even. Now, keep me in service folks.

noonesblog writes:

Nashville, Tennessee here. I haven't had service since 1PM my mom, bestfriend, and brother are all Cricket as well and none of us have it back yet. I missed three phone calls from work this morning telling me that I needed to come in early and only was just able to reach my boss on the landline. This is ridiculous.

DaDofWAR writes:

Service is back in Santa Rosa, CA. ~5am

Steven writes:

OMG people! There are ways to get around things. Get near some WiFi ( which is practically everywhere) download the text plus app select the option to use your phone number and start using free unlimited free phone calls and text over wifi.

tinamarie writes:

Its 629 am est June 4,2016 and I have been without service since 430 pm yesterday. Went to cricket store was lied to and told that verizon and t mobile were also down! Damage control? No word when we will be up. Irritated that they are not making announcements to the media so that we can stay informed. Had to drive 12 miles just to get to a corporate store to find out what was going on. Been a user for over 9 years and intend to migrate elsewhere.

Michelle1 writes:

I'm really disappointed with this , I'm in Los Angrles , from 11:30 am my phone said no service , I tried to call customer service from home kind, no answer or line was busy , finally at 5 pm someone answer it and said its all around US , I missed so many important call and even don't have data , it's really sucks , here in ca is 12:30 am, more than 13 hours no phone or Dara available 😡😡😡

Ness writes:

4 o'clock in the morning& still no service with Cricket they say the problem is Nationwide but there with AT&T and AT&T customers are not having this problem it sounds like a cricket I'm wondering at this point if I need to switch service

landline writes:

I've been without phone serv. and data 9 hours now, seems odd there is no reasoning available, except towers aren't working, really? Phoenix AZ.

Angie writes:

I hope they plan to give everybody refund on their bill

CricketBS writes:

This is such BS! I hope they give us something in return! I spent way too much money for this phone to go to waste!

1PissedMichole writes:

This is ridiculous, an inconvenience, income lost, and totally unacceptable. I'm in Kansas City, Ks and I've been without service since 3pm. Then to search for their customer service and can't reach anyone. Look on social media using WiFi (Thank God) to see this is a outage across at least 5 other states... Something is definitely wrong with this picture. Did they pay their tower Bill? I'm pissed!!!

madgirl1 writes:

My girlfriend went from at&t to cricket services, and her phone still Dosnt work and it's 11:24pm..but the other 2 phones that are on the cricket plan work just fine..

1355 writes:

I live in Louisiana and I can't recieve any text messages, and at that my sister service is completly out hell better fix this soon I got issued I need I can't do that if my phones not working!!!

1335 writes:

Called Cricket Store in Houston 4:00 p.m.they responded give us an hour your service will be back and guess what it's 1:19 a.m and still no device....

nankask writes:

This is such bullshit!!! really? Had to be on friday! I was suppose to meet up with my friends for Happy Hour, and could not get texts or calls....I know Happy Hour is not as important as some of these comments I have read here...js

Sistalokz writes:

No service in Suisun City or Fairfield on my phone, since around 2pm. My husbands service came back on around 6:30pm.

Upyourscricket writes:

To hell with cell phones..... I want my money back.

InformedTV writes:

I wonder if this was a technological act of Terror used as a trial run to see what could happen if or when the communication methods of millions are shutdown down for a given time. Perhaps this truly is Hacker trial run to see if they could download and steal the data off all cell phones while the service is down or use this communication blackout to hijack our phone numbers and personal content. Investment bankers will profiteer by scaring small investors to dump ATT stock then rebuy it low.

Unhappy writes:

Service has been out since 4pm in Massachusetts. This is insanity. When will this be fixed? And why are we not being told what is going on? I have clients that I haven't been able to speak with and am losing money and customers. This should be rectified in some way. Very disappointed in the way this is being handled,also lately it seems I am not receiving calls or text messages either. Sincerely a very unhappy customer.

MOdo writes:

For those who blame the carrier for this: A hacker group called Phantom Squad claims responsibility of this cyber attack causing the cell phone outage. So the cell phone provider is fighting this attack to make the service back online. So blame this hacker group instead! I hope no one had an emergency and couldn't call 911.

Truthhurts writes:

Savannah, Ga Lost service since 4:30pm current time 1:37am. Very disappointed.

Utah writes:

Salt Lake City, Utah- I have 3 different Cricket lines, 2 went dead around 2:45pm (mountain time) but I can still get on wifi and use some stuff. The other phone will call out and send out going texts but will not receive anything incoming. Very frustrating that it's almost 11pm and still no service! 👎

Bobbygump writes:

I live in Lewisville texas 75067 zip code and I haven't had service since 445pm and still don't as of 1141pm

Kris writes:

Cricket wireless is out in Oregon Portland since 2 this afternoon and still remains disconnected funny thing is there is no news media coverage about it and no one has seen this before in a coverage block. So what is really going on some hack or some one from higher up taking control.

Kris writes:

Cricket wireless is out in Oregon Portland since 2 this afternoon and still remains disconnected funny thing is there is no news media coverage about it and no one has seen this before in a coverage block. So what is really going on some hack or some one from higher up taking control.

Vegas2Phx writes:

Since 3:00 local time in Vegas / Henderson it began . Came home in buckeye Arizona -- 4 hour drive south / 300 miles same thing . Not looking for handouts -- but rather solving this dilemma . I use my phone for personal and business like majority of working adults do. Drove a total of 2100 miles in 30 hours .. Lucky it happened after i. Was on a route I was familiar with . Completely blacked out -- couldn't use gps -- that was my primary concern and with the extreme heat (triple digits )

Kris writes:

Cricket wireless is out in Oregon Portland since 2 this afternoon and still remains disconnected funny thing is there is no news media coverage about it and no one has seen this before in a coverage block. So what is really going on some hack or some one from higher up taking control.

Lisa writes:

This has been very stressful for me, I was expecting call from dr. About taking a very important medicine, I couldn't get a hold of my husband was worried he was dead. My phone on now but not husbands, finally I was able to get someone to go check on him. I want a month free of charge this cost me 300 dollars because I couldn't get a hold of people, plus the stress of worried about husband. What's going on and why wasn't it on news

Brett writes:

No Cricket service in Fresno CA on 4 different lines since about 4pm. Strange thing is, 2 of the lines had service for another hour and a half after the other 2 stopped working. No service for family in Sacramento on Cricket either.

Jrcoolidge writes:

I just moved here alone and just changed carrier to Cricket. Gps is critical. I walked over a mile and luckily found a store to hear the news. Scary as hell to be blind in a new place.

American1974 writes:

Worst customer service I have seen in my life. We need a American cell oh one provides who don't out source. Blank Americans but we take your money jobs well cricket kiss my american . I want a refund

Cricket writes:

I Have Cricket My Service Been Down Since 2 pm Can Make Or Receive Calls...

Sherry writes:

Still out in Seattle. It is 930pm. I may switch to other provider tonight or tomorrow.

Tabby writes:

Mine been out since 5 I am in Georgia

MadRealtor writes:

In all honesty i do expect a month credit or more I'm a realtor with properties on the market and losing extremely important calls. This is unacceptable & ridiculous and the only reason I had the plan was to have my children on same plan without it costing an arm & a leg. And it's not cheap service, I get better service (no dropped calls, always service) than I did with T-Mobile,sprint etc. Really unacceptable. I'm in Tampa FL and I been out since 5pm....still out & will be cancelling tomorrow

Cricket10 writes:

Been without service for 6 hrs in N.Az!! What the freak is up Cricket wireless!?!?

jjack writes:

What would take down a nationwide carrier? Equipment meltdown? Who really knows at this point. Don't sound so surprised it's just another wake up call. Take a break from your device there are other ways to socialize.

MeMe writes:

This is of the reasons why I've kept my reliable landline.

Jmnagle writes:

I'm in Alb NM and Cricket cell phone service has been out since 1730 mtn time.

Hannah writes:

San antonio tx, phone been out for 5 hours already .

1355 writes:

I live in South Jersey and I lost my phone at 5:00 pm. How long is this going to take. I use my phone for work and my dad is having surgery on Monday. Can't get in touch with his doctors.

sherilynn01 writes:

My son was calling in from Florida to listen in on his grandmothers funeral because he couldn't be here. We live in Missouri and our service went out around seven pm.

Angeljami writes:

My service has now been out for 6 hrs now and I am from Buffalo by this is b.s they should fixed by now I am out rage

MeMe writes:

NYC back up. Let's see for how long.........

MeMe writes:

Supposedly, a tower came down. Cricket is moving up the wireless ladder, fast. It also belongs to AT&T, a communication giant. Jealous competitor? Hacker? Isis? This is not minor outage, but NATIONWIDE. Highly suspect.

hawk writes:

this is so really upsetting, here in Twin Cities south metro area(Mn) I can't believe still no service!! wow I think Cricket will owe very many service plans great credit. 10:30pm and nothing, yeah can't even call any customer service from anywhere immediate busy signal CRAZY, what is up??

dre29 writes:

Service came on for 20 minutes about and hour ago, but back down. cricket has to make things right. Raleigh nc

civic1 writes:

Sacramento is dead not sure i want to stay with cricket might switch back to metro

mlu writes:

Service has been out now for 6 hours in Tulsa, Oklahoma the majority of my family has Cricket service and now no phone usage. I am 8 1/2 months pregnant as well. Phone service is a must. My phone bill is due tomorrow I'm sure Cricket will be wanting my money when its due but yet what about them. Better be giving everyone a free month of service after all of this mess!