People in the city of Dallas, Texas have died, in part because they could not reach a 911 operator in time to receive lifesaving service. The problem lies in a “ghost call” glitch in the emergency call system Dallas uses. According to CNET, the problem is currently affecting T-Mobile customers.
Dallas City Manager T.C Broadnax said the issue has existed since October and they have been working with T-Mobile executives and engineers since November to resolve it. According to him, T-Mobile customers are being redirected to 911 call centers in Dallas, creating a buildup of traffic and resulting in people who need the service being put on hold for long periods of time. Neither the company nor the city have disclosed if they know why this is happening. The problem has been coined “ghost calling.”
T-Mobile isn’t the only carrier to experience troubled with emergency services. Recently, AT&T customers in Texas, Indiana, and other parts of the Midwest have experienced an outage of 911 service. The Federal Communications Commission is investigating these incidents.
Recently in Dallas, a six-month-old infant named Brandon Alex died when his babysitter could not reach a 911 operator. The night he died, more than 400 calls had flooded the call center. His babysitter was put on hold multiple times. Similarly, a local man named Brian Cross, 52, died in the hospital after his husband was put on hold for twenty minutes before reaching an operator.
According to T-Mobile, this specific glitch is unique to Dallas and nothing similar has happened in any of its other 4,000 911 call centers across the country.