AT&T shares status on outage as service restored to thousands

Thousands of AT&T cell phone users across the U.S. reported network outages early Thursday morning, along with Cricket Wireless, T-Mobile, Verizon and other customers.

AT&T, the country’s largest carrier, confirmed the issues had been fixed just after 3 p.m.

By 6:46 p.m. CT AT&T put out a statement on what they believed to be the cause of the outage. 

"Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack.  We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve," the company wrote in a statement

FILE - SOS Emergency Call sign displayed on a phone screen. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

FILE - SOS Emergency Call sign displayed on a phone screen. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Here’s what’s known about the cell phone outages, including what the "SOS" mode means:

AT&T phone outage, an outage tracking site, showed thousands of outages reported starting around 3:30 a.m. ET. Six hours later, AT&T had more than 73,000 outages by about 9:30 a.m. ET.

Outages were reported in many major U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia. 

"Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored," AT&T said in a statement.

AT&T has more than 240 million subscribers in total. 

RELATED: AT&T outage: What works, and what doesn’t, without cell service on your phone

At 11:15 a.m. ET, AT&T said 75% of the customers had service. Then, at 3:10 p.m., the carrier confirmed all service was restored.

Cricket Wireless outage

AT&T appeared to have the most reported outages, followed by Cricket Wireless – which is owned by AT&T – at over 13,000 reports as of 9:30 a.m. ET, according to 

Verizon had more than 4,000 outages and T-Mobile had more than 1,800 outages. Boost Mobile had about 700 outages.

"Verizon’s network is operating normally. Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation," Verizon said.

T-Mobile said that it did not experience an outage.

"Our network is operating normally. Down Detector is likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks," T-Mobile said.

iPhone, Android ‘SOS’ only – what does it mean?

During the outage, iPhone and Android users reported seeing SOS or "SOS only" in the status bar. 

This means the device isn't connected to a network, but the phone users can still make emergency calls.

However, many reported being unable to dial 911 on Thursday morning – prompting sheriff departments nationwide to share alternative information on how to call in for emergency services.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.