T-Mobile to pay nearly $20 million after outage leads to thousands of 911 calls failing

(NEW YORK) — T-Mobile will pay some $19.5 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission after a 12-hour outage in June of last year resulted in the failure of tens of thousands of emergency 911 calls.

The FCC announced the agreement that would resolve its investigation into the matter, saying T-Mobile has agreed to pay the multi-million dollar settlement and implement a compliance plan with new commitments to improve the 911 outage notices given to public safety answering points, as well as provide follow-up notices to them within two hours of the initial outage notifications.

On June 15, 2020, a 12-hour and 13-minute outage took place that led to congestion across T-Mobile’s 4G, 3G and 2G networks, according to the FCC, and resulted in the “complete failure” of more than 23,000 911 calls. The outage also resulted in tens of thousands of 911 calls without location or call back information made available.

“We understand how critical reliable connectivity is to ensure public safety and we take that responsibility very seriously,” T-Mobile told ABC News in a statement Wednesday. “We have built resiliency into our emergency systems to ensure that our 911 elements are available when they’re needed.”

“This was a short-term isolated outage and we immediately took steps to further enhance our network to prevent this type of event from happening in the future,” the company added. “Now we are moving on from the FCC’s investigation and continuing our focus on our ongoing network build.”

The settlement announcement this week comes on the heels of a separate cyberattack saga T-Mobile recently disclosed to customers. In August, the company said that the personal information of millions of current and prospective customers had been compromised in a data breach that was the result of a “highly sophisticated cyberattack.”

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