Cell phone service across all of the largest wireless took a hit on Tuesday after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook in Virginia, sending tremors all over the East Coast.
The networks were working sporadically in the East Coast when customers tried to place calls after the earthquake struck. However, text messaging and data connections didn't seem like they were affected to the same extent.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. told the Wall Street Journal that they were seeing a heavy call volume following the earthquake near Richmond, Va. None of the companies reported any structural damage to their equipment.
The carriers also told WSJ that some users reported difficulty initializing calls or text messages after the event.
Verizon Wireless experienced a large volume of calls for the first 20 minutes after the earthquake struck, but it has returned to normal service, said a spokesman, Jeffrey Nelson to WSJ.
AT&T and Sprint said they both had similar increase in call volume.
A Sprint spokesman told WSJ that the carrier was encouraging customers to send text messages to family members and friends, rather than call, to ease any additional pressure on its network.