AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile Customers Affected by Service Outage in Europe

Many travelers from the United States have lost a crucial tool for checking maps, making reservations, using ride-hailing apps and more due to a cellular data outage that began impacting users of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon on Wednesday.

Affected travelers, especially in Europe, posted on social media, seeking answers about what caused the outage and how long it would last. Some reported being unable to make phone calls, send text messages or use online services without Wi-Fi for 24 hours. It’s unclear what caused the outage, which appears to stretch from Britain to Turkey.

An AT&T spokeswoman said the carrier’s network was operating normally, but that some customers traveling internationally may experience service disruptions due to an issue outside of AT&T’s network. The company said it was working with one of its roaming connectivity providers to resolve the issue.

Verizon told some of its customers on social media that it was also aware of the issue and that its teams were working with local providers to resolve it.

A T-Mobile representative said the operator is one of “several providers affected by the third-party vendor issue that is intermittently impacting some international roaming services” and that it is also working to resolve it.

George Lagos, a 70-year-old real estate developer from Dunedin, Florida, who is visiting the Greek island of Crete with his family, noticed Wednesday that his T-Mobile cell phone data was down. For about 24 hours, he said, he couldn’t reach the people he had planned to visit with, though they had thankfully discussed the details together.

“You know it's an inconvenience, but it wasn't a disaster,” said Mr. Lagos, whose service appeared to have been restored by Thursday evening. “I didn't miss a flight. There wasn't a taxi looking for me or anything like that.”

But there was a more serious concern: Mr Lagos's mother-in-law was ill and his wife could not contact the person who was caring for her.

“That was probably the worst thing,” Mr Lagos said.

All major U.S. carriers offer some version of an all-inclusive international data plan that allows travelers to use their phones as they would in the United States.

While the current outage appears to be easing, travelers affected by these outages have other options for connecting. By swapping out a physical SIM card, for phones that still have one, you can connect to a local network. (These typically come in pay-as-you-go or prepaid packages.) For newer phones, apps like Airalo provide relatively inexpensive electronic SIM card packages in many international destinations. And of course, you can always search for a secure Wi-Fi network.

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