Cricket Wireless experienced a major service disruption starting yesterday afternoon. The outage started around 3:30 PM PDT Friday. Cricket service was down for many, but not all Cricket customers nationwide. According to Cricket, service was restored around 7:30 PDT this morning. Cricket is advising any customers who are still experiencing issues to restart their phones.
Cricket has not revealed the cause of the outage. But the fact that Cricket, which is owned by AT&T and uses the AT&T network, was affected and AT&T itself was not suggest a failure of some part the AT&T infrastructure that its only used by Cricket. One theory that seems plausible is a failure of the software (or the hardware that it runs on) that checks to see if a Cricket user is eligible to use the network.
While Cricket is getting lots of heat on social media over this outage, large scale service outages can and do happen to all complex electronic systems including all mobile phone operators. If you Google for "Verizon Wireless outage" or "AT&T Wireless outage", etc. you will get lots of hits to reports of times when these services went down. That said, it's likely that mobile operators don't go to the same lengths to provide redundancy and backup for low priced services like Cricket as they do for their premium postpaid offerings. As a user, it's always a good idea to have your own backup, like VOIP over WiFi or a second phone or SIM that uses a different network than your primary one. A backup doesn't need to be expensive, even a free RingPlus or FreedomPop account would have been enough to keep Cricket customers online and in contact with friends and family last night.