AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile users affected by service outage in Europe

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

Affected travellers, mostly in Europe, posted on social media, seeking answers about what caused the disruption and how long it would last. Some reported being unable to make phone calls, send messages or use online services without Wi-Fi for as long as 24 hours. It was unclear what caused the outage, which appeared to stretch from Britain to Türkiye.

An AT&T spokesperson said the carrier's network is operating normally, but that some customers traveling internationally may experience service interruptions due to an issue outside the AT&T network. The company said it is 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 carrier is one of “numerous providers affected by the third-party vendor issue intermittently affecting some international roaming services” and 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 cellular data was down. For about 24 hours, he said, he couldn’t reach people with whom he had made plans, though fortunately they had already discussed the details together.

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

But there was a more serious concern: his wife's mother was ill and Mr. Lagos' wife could not reach the person who helped care for her.

“That was probably the worst thing,” 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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