AT&T to 'make it right' with account credit after outage

AT&T will offer account credits to "make it right" after a massive network outage last week.

"We apologize for Thursday’s network outage," AT&T said in a statement. "We recognize the frustration this outage has caused and know we let many of our customers down. We understand this may have impacted their ability to connect with family, friends, and others. Small business owners may have been impacted, potentially disrupting an essential way they connect with customers."

Tens of thousands of wireless customers woke up with no cell service Thursday and "SOS" messages on their phones. The outage also extended to more than 9,000 customers of AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless. Users of other carriers, including Verizon and T-Mobile, also reported issues but those companies said their networks were operating normally and the problems were likely stemming from customers trying to connect to AT&T users.

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Outage tracker Downdetector noted that outages, which began at about 3:30 a.m. ET, peaked at around 73,000 reported incidents. AT&T had more than 58,000 outages around noon ET, in locations including Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. 

AT&T is the largest carrier in the United States, with more than 240 million customers. 

What caused the AT&T outage? 


An iPhone on the AT&T cellular network is stuck on SOS after AT&T networks stopped working across the United States. (Photo Illustration by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

AT&T blamed the incident on an error in coding, without elaborating. The company said it was not the result of a cyberattack. 

RELATED: AT&T outage: Cause was due to ‘incorrect process’ used to expand network, company says

"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," the Dallas-based company said.

AT&T giving $5 credits

AT&T said customers who were impacted will get a $5 credit applied for each account. AT&T Business, AT&T Prepaid and Cricket are not eligible for the credit. 

Here’s how the credits will work, according to AT&T: 

"To help make it right, we’re reaching out to potentially impacted customers and we’re automatically applying a credit to their accounts," AT&T said. "We want to reassure our customers of our commitment to reliably connect them – anytime and anywhere. We're crediting them for the average cost of a full day of service. We’re also taking steps to prevent this from happening again in the future."

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AT&T said bill credits will typically be applied "within two bill cycles."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.