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FCC Probe Reveals Extent of T-Mobile's June 2020 Network Outage

Back in June, T-Mobile customers experienced a network outage that lasted almost half a day. And while some subscribers may have already forgotten how the outage affected them, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) promised to look into the issue. 

True enough, the government agency was able to complete its rigorous investigation after over four months. And according to their discovery, T-Mobile is the sole culprit behind the outage, which is now considered as one of the worst in recent memory.

While there doesn't seem to be any pending sanctions for the Un-carrier, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) was able to release an in-depth report covering the outage. In the report, the bureau recommends several measures that T-Mobile, along with the other major carriers, can implement in order to avoid any future outages of this magnitude.  

In the report, the PSHSB reveals that "at least" 41% of "all calls that attempted to use T-Mobile's network" failed. The report showed that the outage occurred between 12:33 PM EDT on June 15th and 12:46 AM EDT on June 16th. Both incoming and outgoing calls were affected by the outage. 

To show how bad the outage was, the T-Mobile's network blocked over 30 million calls from AT&T during the outage. On comparison, there is only around 200,000 failed calls being made on an ordinary Monday. And this number only covers calls made from AT&T to T-Mobile customers. It doesn't include the failed calls among T-Mobile subscribers and other issues experienced by the smaller carriers. Apart from calls, there were also reports of unsent text messages and failed call attempts using VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi.

Not to mention, the outage occurred in the middle of a health crisis. The FCC even estimates that there were "at least" 23,621 emergency calls made to 911 that failed during the outage. But to be fair, there were no public comments referring to this as "a direct result" of an individual's physical harm. Meanwhile, the PSHSB received some comments from individuals who incurred financial and job loss because of the outage. 

As discovered by the FCC, the outage was caused by problem that originally started as equipment failure before it became a network routing misconfiguration issue. This, then, turned into a network software flaw that stayed dormant for months before finally becoming into the massive 12-hour network outage that occurred in June 15, 2020. 

You can read the full report here.

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