T-Mobile explains massive outage as FCC chairman Ajit Pai expresses anger

T-Mobile explains massive outage as FCC chairman Ajit Pai expresses anger
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

T-Mobile has offered an explanation for an outage this week which affected millions of customers and caught the attention of FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

On Monday, T-Mobile’s voice and text services went down for over twelve hours. The outage occurred alongside an unusual spate of downtime reports which led some to speculate that the US had suffered a major DDoS attack.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explained why such an attack was unlikely:

Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile, took to Twitter to end the speculation and explain what really happened to their network:

You can read the specifics in T-Mobile’s update but the short story is that a fiber circuit owned by another provider in South-Eastern US failed. Features that were designed to help in such a situation ended up flooding the network with traffic and overwhelming T-Mobile’s capacity.

The outage occurred during a pandemic when connectivity is needed most. The FCC has launched initiatives like “Keep America Connected” to help people during these difficult times, so naturally the regulator has launched an investigation into T-Mobile’s outage.

Pai’s FCC often talks tough but takes little action against operators which fail to uphold their responsibilities. An FCC investigation into operators’ responses to Hurricane Michael last year found that carriers failed to follow their roaming commitments, but Pai’s FCC did not follow through with any punishment.

T-Mobile’s outage is not the only criticism it faces this week.

One of T-Mobile’s arguments for its $26 billion merger with Sprint is that it would create more jobs. Former CEO John Legere even said in a blog post last year that the new T-Mobile would employ 11,000 more workers by 2024 than what the two carriers would have separately.

According to TechCrunch, T-Mobile VP James Kirby told around 400 former Sprint employees on Monday that they would be made redundant after August 13th. T-Mobile has since published a blog post confirming the layoffs but claiming it plans to hire 5,000 new employees over the next year.

(Image Credit: Neville Ray Manu Fernandez/AP Images for T-Mobile)

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