Cingular service restored after outage Officials unsure what caused interruption across much of state 07:27 PM CDT on Wednesday, August 2, 2006 By TERRY MAXON / The Dallas Morning News Cingular Wireless customers in North Texas and elsewhere in the state had their service severely disrupted Wednesday, and Cingular officials said Wednesday evening that they were still trying to find out what set off the widespread problems. Cingular spokesman Warner May said that Cingular “began experiencing a problem with the long-distance signaling system between Texas and Washington state” around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. Frank Merriman, another Cingular spokesman, estimated that three out of four Cingular customers were affected by the problems. “It affects Texas, but not everyone in Texas,” Mr. Merriman said in early evening. Shortly after 7 p.m., Cingular said its system was “fully restored.” Mr. Merriman said the Cingular signaling system sends all calls, both long-distance and local, to facilities in Washington where they are processed. Something caused the signaling system to malfunction, but the reason remained a mystery, he said. “That’s what we do not know,” Mr. Merriman said. “Obviously, we’re investigating it and restoring it, but we don’t know the root cause right now.” People trying to use their Cingular phones typically heard a fast-busy signal and saw a message on their screen, “call failed, network busy.” Despite the inability to make voice calls, users could still send text messages. Mr. Merriman said Cingular users with so-called “third-generation,” or 3G, phones could make emergency calls to 911, but the vast majority of North Texas users without 3G phones could not call 911. At present, a small number of Cingular users have 3G phones - the Samsung ZX10, LG CU500 or LG CU320. Most have phones operating on the second-generation GSM standard or even older TDMA standard. Last August, a number of North Texas subscribers had their service interrupted when Cingular was combining its cellular network with that of AT&T Wireless, which Cingular acquired in 2004. Cingular doesn’t disclose numbers of North Texas or Texas subscribers. Nationwide, it had 57.3 million customers as of June 30.