T-Mobile screwups caused nationwide outage, but FCC isn’t punishing carrier

A T-Mobile advertisement that says,

Enlarge / T-Mobile advertisement in New York City's Times Square on October 15, 2020. (credit: Getty Images | SOPA Images)

The Federal Communications Commission has finished investigating T-Mobile for a network outage that Chairman Ajit Pai called "unacceptable." But instead of punishing the mobile carrier, the FCC is merely issuing a public notice to "remind" phone companies of "industry-accepted best practices" that could have prevented the T-Mobile outage.

After the 12-hour nationwide outage on June 15 disrupted texting and calling services, including 911 emergency calls, Pai wrote that "the T-Mobile network outage is unacceptable" and that "the FCC is launching an investigation. We're demanding answers—and so are American consumers."

Pai has a history of talking tough with carriers and not following up with punishments that might have a greater deterrence effect than sternly worded warnings. That appears to be what happened again yesterday when the FCC announced the findings from its investigation into T-Mobile. Pai said that "T-Mobile's outage was a failure" because the carrier didn't follow best practices that could have prevented or minimized it, but he announced no punishment. The matter appears to be closed based on yesterday's announcement, but we contacted Chairman Pai's office today to ask if any punishment of T-Mobile is forthcoming. We'll update this article if we get a response.

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