Drivers Unable to Connect to In-Car Services Amid Nationwide AT&T Outages

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An ongoing nationwide AT&T outage left owners across the country unable to connect to data-based features in their cars Thursday. Currently, AT&T is the exclusive connectivity provider for Tesla vehicles, and it also offers Connected Car wireless data plans for numerous other automakers.

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Thursday morning, tens of thousands of AT&T customers reported issues with wireless services to Downdetector, which tracks the location and severity of service outages based on user reports. While not every AT&T customer is currently experiencing an outage, customers across the country have complained that their service is out.

The more connected a car is, the more likely it will experience issues from a wireless service outage like this. Over-the-air updates require over-the-air connections, for one.’s long-term Tesla Model Y was unable to connect to native streaming audio or traffic due to the outage. While its navigation system was able to route our staffer’s commute, the estimated travel time it gave was far longer than the drive typically takes due to the car’s inability to access traffic data.

Tesla drivers trying to access other features may run into issues during the outage, as well. According to AT&T, Tesla cars also use its network for remote engine diagnostics, telematics and infotainment features including web browsing and weather information. However, users on Reddit’s Tesla Lounge confirmed they are still able to use Superchargers during the data outage and unlock their cars using their phone’s app, which uses Bluetooth rather than cellular data.

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When reached for comment, an AT&T spokesperson replied to by saying “some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them.” The company did not give an estimate as to when service will be restored nationwide, nor did it comment on the cause of the outage.

So, no: You probably didn’t miss a payment. If your car is unable to connect to Wi-Fi or access wireless data-based features, it may simply be due to AT&T’s widespread but sporadic outages this morning. While our Chicago-area Model Y came online shortly after 9 a.m. Central time, AT&T service has been unavailable since shortly after 5 a.m. local time in Austin, Texas, and remained down until well after 11 a.m. The company told CNN that three-fourths of its network has been restored as of late Thursday morning Eastern time.

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News Editor Stef Schrader joined in 2024 but began her career in automotive journalism in 2013. She currently has a Porsche 944 and Volkswagen 411 that are racecars and a Mitsubishi Lancer GTS that isn’t a racecar (but sometimes goes on track anyway). Ask her about Fisher-Price Puffalumps. Email Stef Schrader

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