Earthquake Causes Connection Problems For Cell Phone Users

NEW YORK (WWJ/AP) – The earthquake that shook the East Coast, and was felt in Southeast Michigan, has been causing connection problems for cell phone customers. Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint say their networks were congested as the quake sent people scrambling for the phones.

“There were tremors and everyone decided to call and say, `Did you feel it?’ ” Verizon Wireless spokesman Tom Pica said. “It’s a congestion situation.”

The congestion was reminiscent, on a much smaller scale, to the frenzy that clogged cellular networks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. To solve that program, police and rescue workers have priority phones that can get through even when there’s a flurry of calls.

Pica said there was no damage to the company’s equipment. He said the crush of phone calls made it hard for some customers to get through for about 20 minutes after the quake but he said the congestion appeared to be clearing after that. Sprint said some customers may be experiencing delays.

The phone in the WWJ Newsroom has been ringing off the hook with calls from  people across Metro Detroit who felt a shake, just before 2 p.m., Tuesday. (More on this, here).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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