Health Care Systems, Cell Service Down Nationwide

Many consumers woke up to “SOS” on their cell phones Thursday morning, an indication that cellular service is not available.

While some reports say it was a nationwide AT&T issue, other news sources indicate that other carriers were also affected, and also the nationwide communication network that pharmacies use when filling prescriptions and other health care communication systems was down. 

AT&T, the nation’s largest carrier, has more than 240 million subscribers, according to Yahoo News, which reported late morning that AT&T says 75% of network is restored.



Verizon and T-Mobile customers were also affected, according to Fox Business. Downdetector is a website that crowdsources "realtime overview of issues and outages with all kinds of services."

Downdetector also showed a spike in reported T-Mobile outages around 4 a.m. ET, per Fox Business. “A T-Mobile spokesperson told Fox Business they did not experience an outage and that their network is operating normally.”

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is “working closely with AT&T to understand the cause of the outage and its impacts, and stand[s] ready to offer any assistance needed,” Eric Goldstein, the agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said in a statement to CNN.

While service was being restored on Thursday, cell users were instructed in how to enable WiFi calling so as to still be able to make phone calls. 

“WiFi calling is a feature that allows users to make or receive phone calls as long as they have a WiFi connection,” according to thePensacola News Journal. “The feature is available on both Apple and Android devices.”

Some point to two very strong solar flares overnight as a possible reason for the problems. Anecdotally, some say only the primary cellular account user is without service while those on the family plan are not experiencing outages. 

NASA reports that the sun emitted two strong solar flares, the first one peaking at 6:07 p.m. EST on Feb. 21, and the second peaking at 1:32 a.m. EST on Feb. 22. 

According to, a major solar flare interrupted AT&T service on Aug. 4, 1972. Long-distance phone communication was knocked out across several states. 

AT&T has not confirmed that their outage is related to a solar flare, according to Fox 35 Orlando.

"Some people are attributing cell network outages (AT&T, Verizon) in the U.S to last night’s X-class #SolarFlare," Ryan French of the National Solar Observatory posted on X. "However, flares only cause radio degradation on the ‘dayside’ of the Earth.”

Probably unrelated to the cellular disturbance but notable, U.S. healthcare technology giant Change Healthcare has confirmed a cyberattack on its systems, according to Tech Crunch. In a brief statement Wednesday, the company said it was “experiencing a network interruption related to a cyber security issue.”

Pharmacies across the country have put out notices that the attack on Change Healthcare is disrupting their ability to process patients' orders, according to Fox Business. 

Change Healthcare disconnected its systems to prevent further impact as a result of an ongoing “cybersecurity issue,” reports

Change Healthcare is part of health tech company Optum, which is owned by healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group as of 2022. Through its platform, Change processes patient payments for healthcare organizations across the country, per

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