Technicians from AT&T determined on Friday that the 12-hour nationwide outage of its US network last week was caused by an “incorrect process,” not by a foreign cyberattack or solar radiation as some sources had suggested. The company is now prepared to offer $7.5 million in compensation to affected users—a payout equivalent to $5 per person.

As Valuetainment reported at the time, tens of thousands of AT&T customers began experiencing service disruptions early Thursday morning, leaving them unable to make calls, send texts, or even contact emergency services. More than 75,000 people reported that networks for AT&T and subsidiary Cricket Mobile were completely down, and iPhone users were presented with an SOS message that only allowed them to place calls over Wi-Fi.

About 12 hours after the first outage, AT&T indicated that routine system errors had caused the problem. “Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack,” the company said in a statement on Friday without specifying the exact cause of the disruption.

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At the time of the outage, White House spokesman John Kirby told the press that the Federal Communications Commission had alerted the FBI and other agencies to be on standby in case “malicious” activity was discovered, but no further action was taken.

Lawmakers seized on the opportunity to warn of the very real possibility of future cyberattacks on these same systems, with Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) warning that “it will be 100 times worse when China launches a cyber attack on America on the eve of a Taiwan invasion.”

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AT&T said on Monday that it will apply a $5 credit to the accounts of affected customers within two billing cycles for a total payout of $7.5 million—equivalent to two-tenths of a percent of the company’s fourth-quarter revenue.

“Despite that impact to the business, I believe this approach is fully manageable while achieving the 2024 business objectives we have set for ourselves and our stated financial guidance,” AT&T CEO John Stankey wrote in a letter from the company.

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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