The Town of Crawford, Delta County Emergency Management and Delta County have been working collaboratively with senior regional representatives at T-Mobile to restore communications to the Crawford area during an over two month cell service outage.
Lauren Neill, Senior Advocacy Manager for T-Mobile’s Central Region, informed the County and Town of Crawford that service was restored for customers as of Saturday. Regarding the outage, T-Mobile advised, “In the process of upgrading network equipment at a tower covering Crawford and parts of Delta County, there was a disruption which may have caused intermittent service impacts for some customers. T-Mobile has now restored service to the tower and service should work as normal. T-Mobile will also be adding more equipment to the tower this fall to provide customers in the area with their best 5G and LTE experiences.” According to Cally Gallegos, Town Clerk with the Town of Crawford, the Town lost cell service on approximately July 2nd, and during the outage, many residents didn’t have the ability to make or receive calls unless they had home wi-fi and a phone capable of wi-fi calling. Throughout the outage, Town of Crawford staff, Mayor Gofforth, Delta County Emergency Management and Commissioner Wendell Koontz have been communicating with T-Mobile to get the service restored as soon as possible for residents of Crawford. Emergency Management contacted engineering representatives with T-Mobile in mid-August who dispatched crews to the tower and some service was restored on August 17th. This fix however, was unable to restore full service to the Crawford area, leaving areas outside of town and east of the tower such as Town Hall, and the Montessori School without service for another month.
Emergency Management contacted representatives with T-Mobile for government operations in early September and escalated the outage to the T-Mobile central region senior manager who worked closely with the Town and Emergency Management to restore service to Crawford. On September 15th, crews arrived on-site in Crawford and began making repairs to the tower with service fully restored by September 17th. As service was being restored, T-Mobile informed the Town and County that the Crawford tower will be upgraded to the latest bandwidth and cellular technology in late October 2022 or early November. Residents should take steps now to ensure their cell phones, hotspots and other T-Mobile devices are up-to-date and not going to be affected by the discontinuation of 3G service this fall.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on October 28, 2021 that it had authorized cell phone carriers to begin phasing out old 3G cellular networks in 2022. This means older cellular 3G cellular devices (phones, hotspots, in-car service, etc) will no longer work on any of the cellular networks (including AT&T and Verizon) as this wireless spectrum is turned off in 2022. As T-Mobile plans to upgrade the Crawford tower and surrounding areas in the fall of 2022, residents should ensure their devices are 4G/5G capable. If residents/businesses haven’t upgraded their devices to a 4G or 5G capable device per the carrier’s instructions, they risk losing service this fall.
When asked about the recent outage and work to restore service, Mayor Wanda Gofforth advised, “cell phone service is crucial to the Town of Crawford, our operations and that of local businesses and to the residents in town and surrounding areas. We are extremely grateful for the actions of Delta County Emergency Management in helping us resolve this issue and for T-Mobile’s assistance and willingness to work with the Town and County to get service restored for residents.” Mayor Gofforth expressed concerns that it took so long for T-Mobile to restore the service but advised she was happy to now have the contacts necessary to ensure any future outages are addressed promptly.
Delta County Commissioner Wendell Koontz advised, “Delta County recognizes the need for reliable communication services throughout the county, even in our rural areas such as Crawford and we appreciate T-Mobile and other communication providers keeping our communication infrastructure up to date with the latest technology. Thank you to T-Mobile representatives for their attention to this matter and willingness to work with the Town and Emergency Management to restore service ahead of the fall upgrade.” If residents still don’t have service after September 17th and are T-Mobile customers, Emergency Management recommends they contact T-Mobile customer support at t-mobile.com/support to ensure their phone is up-to-date and to address concerns specific to their device and account.
Links to 3G Phase out Articles:
FCC Plan Ahead for Phase out of 3G Cellular Networks and Service (October 2021)
T-Mobile: No More 3G- What does that Mean for Me? (August 19, 2022)