A 6-month-old infant is dead after his babysitter was unable to reach 911 operators because of a problem with T-Mobile’s network.
T-Mobile’s top engineers being deployed to Dallas to address the problem
WFAA-TV reports the death, which took place March 11, in Dallas, occurred after 6-month-old Brandon Alex fell from a day bed and was knocked unconscious.
His babysitter reportedly called 911 three times and was inadvertently put on hold each time because of ongoing T-Mobile network issues. The network snafus that prevented callers in the Dallas area from reaching 911 reportedly first surfaced in November, according to the city.
Brandon’s mother had been out at a funeral for a 19-year-old nephew when he fell. She rushed home to bring him to a hospital for surgery.
‘I jumped in the car with him, and I just kept kissing his lips. He was still warm. I just kept saying, ‘Brandon, please wake up. Please wake up,” mother Bridget Alex told WFAA-TV.
He later died without ever regaining consciousness while being transferred to another hospital.
Ongoing T-Mobile ‘ghost call’ issues
This isn’t the first time that T-Mobile has run into problems connecting its wireless users with 911 emergency service.
The company agreed to a $17.5 million settlement in 2015 that was reached over two network outages that impacted T-Mobile’s entire network across the country — not just in Dallas. The 2015 outages prevented T-Mobile’s nearly 50 million customers from reaching 911 for a period of three hours one day the year before.
The root of the apparent problem is that when T-Mobile customers in the Dallas area call 911, a second phantom call gets logged in the system as a disconnected call.
When too many of these secondary ghost calls build up, they jam the system. Callers are then put on hold as 911 operators rush to catch up with the influx of what look to be legitimate calls but are actually phantom dials created by T-Mobile’s network.
While Dallas police say there’s ‘no evidence at this time connecting the child’s death to the T-Mobile ghost call issue,’ the company’s top engineers were expected in the Texas city on March 15 to address the ongoing problem. T-Mobile says it’s committed to fixing the problem.
Here’s part of the statement released by the city of Dallas in response to the incident:
There is no evidence at this time connecting the child’s death to the T-Mobile ghost call issue. We can only confirm that the caller was using a T-Mobile device and tried reaching 911 Saturday evening, during the spike in calls. Since November 2016, T-Mobile has been working with multiple city departments to try several solutions unsuccessfully.
Meanwhile, this report comes just days after AT&T had a service outage that prevented mobile callers in Florida, Tennessee, Texas and other states from reaching 911 emergency service.
Law enforcement agencies were able to provide alternate numbers for callers in that particular emergency situation. The AT&T outage has since been repaired.