AT&T Will Give $5 Account Credits After Thursday's Network Outage

The carrier says the bill credits will "typically be applied within 2 bill cycles."

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
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AT&T's outage on Thursday saw users around the country lose service for hours. Now the company says it wants to "make it right" by issuing a $5 bill credit to impacted users' wireless accounts. 

In a tweet on X Saturday night, as well as on a new page on its website, the carrier posted an apology for the disruption noting that it recognizes "the frustration this outage has caused and know we let many of our customers down." 

"To help make it right, we're reaching out to potentially impacted customers and we're automatically applying a credit to their accounts," the statement on the website reads. "We want to reassure our customers of our commitment to reliably connect them – anytime and anywhere. We're crediting them for the average cost of a full day of service."

Looking at the fine print on the page reveals that the credit, while a small proactive gesture, is fairly limited. AT&T is giving only $5 per wireless account, not per impacted line, so if you have multiple lines of service with the carrier you won't be reimbursed for losing service for all of them. 

The carrier is also not providing credits to AT&T Business, AT&T Prepaid or users of its Cricket service. It tells CNET that those users will "have options available to them if they were potentially impacted by the outage." 

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Those looking for additional credits for the lost service may be better off calling the carrier. 

"We believe we have contacted potentially impacted customers," an AT&T spokesperson told CNET. "But if someone needs to talk to us about their situation, our call centers are available."

AT&T didn't disclose how many users were impacted by the outage or how many credits it will be issuing. 

The outage appeared to begin early Thursday morning and reports on social media suggested the outage was widespread, with Downdetector, a website where users can report issues with websites and services, showing a spike in problems with AT&T nationwide beginning around 4 a.m. ET. The carrier recommended that customers use Wi-Fi calling and similar internet-based services during the cellular service outage

While it wasn't immediately clear what caused the issue, it was revealed Thursday night that it was the result of an issue that occurred during overnight network maintenance and was not the result of a cyber attack. 

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