AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile point finger at 'third-party' for roaming outage

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile explained that a third-party roaming vendor is the common denominator for the mobile service outage for US customers traveling abroad.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

June 27, 2024

3 Min Read
People talking on old payphones in Havana

In the midst of peak summer travel, US mobile phone customers of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are struggling to connect due to an international roaming outage. The three service providers explained that a third-party roaming vendor is the common denominator for outages.

Some travelers "reported being unable to make phone calls, send texts or use online services without Wi-Fi for as long as 24 hours," said The New York Times.

T-Mobile said it was one of several providers affected by a "third-party vendor's issue" impacting international roaming services, according to CNN. Verizon told the outlet that nearly 30% of customer calls and data connections overseas aren't going through.

That third party appears to be US-based roaming aggregator Syniverse. "Since the onset of these issues, Syniverse has been working closely with our network partners to restore full service," Syniverse told CNN in a statement. "We understand the inconvenience this has caused and appreciate your patience as we navigate this challenge."

Syniverse supports several roaming services, including 5G roaming and messaging, 3G-to-VoLTE roaming, and roaming support for private wireless and IoT. However, Syniverse has remained relatively quiet on social media. The company's last post to X was on June 26, and it was unrelated to the outage.

"@Syniverse how come there are no updates about your services going down throughout Europe with an ETA on when they will be back up," asked one user on X after suggesting that Verizon blamed the company for not allowing customers to access data while roaming.

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Syniverse has not yet responded to Light Reading's request for comment.

Meanwhile, AT&T said it's working with its roaming partners to fix the issue.

"The AT&T network is operating normally," AT&T told Light Reading in an emailed statement. "Some customers traveling internationally may be experiencing service disruptions due to an issue outside the AT&T network.  We're working with one of our roaming connectivity providers to resolve the issue."

Verizon echoed that it's also collaborating with local providers to address the outage.

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In May, AT&T customers in Virginia and North Carolina experienced service outages – 57% of customer reports were related to mobile phones. In February, a much more widespread outage impacted 75,000 AT&T customers in markets including Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta.  

Editor's note: On Saturday, June 29, AT&T shared a statement with Light Reading regarding the roaming outage.

"The service disruption for customers traveling internationally has been resolved. We know how important staying connected is and appreciate our customers' understanding while we collaborated with our roaming connectivity provider to resolve the issue. For our customers* who were traveling and impacted, we will issue credits for daily fees during this timeframe (6/26 to 6/28)."

AT&T added that their "network was always operating normally" and the outage was due to an issue outside their network.  

"In the majority of countries impacted, greater than 75% of phone calls and data sessions were successfully completed during peak disruption (June 27, 2024)," said AT&T.

*This includes business and consumer travelers.

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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