AT&T to credit $5 to many customers who were affected by service outage

AT&T Inc.’s chief executive apologized on Sunday for an hours-long nationwide service outage that affected some of its wireless customers last week, and said it will credit the accounts of many of those affected as compensation.

AT&T later specified on its website that affected consumers would see a $5 credit within their next two billing cycles.

In a letter to employees, CEO John Stankey called last Thursday’s outage “a challenging day.”

“We let down many of our customers, including many of you and your families. For that, we apologize,” he said.

While there had been immediate concerns that AT&T
T,
-1.19%

had been the victim of hackers, the company said late Thursday that the problem was caused by a software update, “not a cyber attack.” 

Stankey did not specify how widespread the outage was, but said about 25% of its customers were not able to access the network starting around 6 a.m. Eastern, with service fully restored by early afternoon.

Consumer and small-business customers who were affected will see an automatic account credit for a full day of service to compensate them for the inconvenience, Stankey said. Options for pre-paid, mid-market and enterprise customers are still being worked out, he said.

Stankey said compensation “is the right thing to do,” and that the payments should be manageable within the company’s previously stated financial guidance.

AT&T shares are flat year to date and down about 13% over the past 12 months, compared to the S&P 500’s
SPX
7% gain this year and 28% rise over the past year.