CMAS

After having all Tier-1 carriers across the country come to an agreement surrounding the use of the Wireless Emergency Alerts, Sprint is the first U.S. carrier to enable the services. Working together with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Sprint customers will be able to accept SMS alerts from the president of the United States, the National Weather Service and state and local emergency operations centers based on their location. The service is an opt-in choice, and those wishing to do so will need to activate it on capable handsets by completeing the following process:

Sprint customers can activate the service by dialing ##CMAS# or ##2627#, and choosing to “enable the CMAS client” when prompted.

Sprint will be testing Wireless Emergency Alerts in New York City, along with the New York City Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, and FEMA using different geo-targeted wireless alerts to Sprint devices located in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. More info and a list of compatible can be found past the break or via the Sprint website in the link below.

Source: Sprint

Sprint Becomes First U.S. Carrier to Launch Wireless Emergency Alerts on its Mobile Network

Carrier will join New York Office of Emergency Management and Department of Homeland Security in testing the service in New York’s five boroughs

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), November 15, 2011 - Today, Sprint (NYSE: S) marks another milestone in delivering critical and reliable communication services to consumers during crisis situations by becoming the first U.S. carrier to offer Wireless Emergency Alerts on its mobile network.

Wireless Emergency Alerts allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to accept and deliver warning messages to wireless networks from the president of the United States, the National Weather Service and state and local emergency operations centers. Sprint customers will be able to effectively and accurately receive warnings and safety information via text alerts to mobile phones that are equipped with the enabling software and based on their geographic location.

Later this year, Sprint will conduct the nation’s first test of Wireless Emergency Alerts in New York City, along with the New York City Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, and FEMA. The test will deliver a series of different geo-targeted wireless alerts to multiple Sprint mobile phones strategically located in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

“Providing immediate, reliable wireless communications before, during and following an emergency situation is trademark of Sprint’s service,” said Steve Elfman, Sprint president of Network Operations and Wholesale. “Sprint is proud to be the first wireless carrier in the U.S. to offer this service, and we look forward to testing this critical service in a city that is the epicenter of our nation’s financial, media and fashion markets.”

Implementing wireless emergency alerts on the Sprint network

The availability of Wireless Emergency Alerts on Sprint’s network is the result of the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) – a national program established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the Warning, Alert and Response Act passed by Congress in 2006.

Earlier this year, Sprint joined the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and FEMA agency administrator W. Craig Fugate in committing to the deployment of a wireless emergency alert system.

In the fall of 2010, Sprint became the first national wireless carrier to successfully perform a trial of the wireless emergency alerts technology with the California Emergency Management Agency and the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. The trial, which took place in October 2010 through late November 2010, tested the wireless emergency alert technology across urban, suburban and rural areas; included the involvement of law enforcement agencies, local jurisdictions and other regional partners; and assessed factors related to messaging delivery, length and recipient location.

During the next year, Sprint will continue working with FEMA, DHS, and numerous state and local emergency agencies to successfully make the alerts available nationwide.

Using wireless emergency alerts on the Sprint network

Sprint’s customers can currently access wireless emergency alerts on the following devices: HTC EVO Design 4GTM, HTC EVO 3DTM, Kyocera BrioTM, Kyocera Duracore, Kyocera DuraMax, Kyocera MilanoTM, LG MarqueeTM, Samsung Galaxy STM II, EpicTM 4G Touch, Samsung TrenderTM, Samsung Transform UltraTM, Sanyo InnuendoTM by Kyocera and Sanyo VeroTM by Kyocera.

The 90-character alerts will be delivered at no charge to the customer and have a distinctive vibration cadence and audio tone similar to what is heard for emergency alerts on broadcast television and radio. Additionally, notification of a wireless emergency alert will be distinguished in the handset’s messaging inbox with a distinctive icon.

On devices that are capable of receiving the alerts, Sprint customers can activate the service by dialing ##CMAS# or ##2627#, and choosing to “enable the CMAS client” when prompted.

The wireless emergency alerts will be available in three categories – Presidential Alerts, Imminent Threats to Life and Property, and AMBER Alerts – and provide mobile users an additional tool for learning of impending danger in relation to their current location. Wireless users can opt out of all message types with the exception of presidential alerts.

Some potential examples of these alerts include:

  • An emergency message could be targeted to cell phones at a stadium event, informing attendees of where to go or what direction to drive following a nearby highway accident or chemical spill.
  • Emergency information related to wildfires, mudslides, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes could be targeted to residents in specific neighborhoods or along routes where the danger is greatest.
  • Students and faculty across a campus could be quickly informed when lockdown conditions are necessary because of a threat.
  • If a suspicious package were reported in an airport, shopping mall or office complex, thousands could receive messages to move to a certain area until the threat was removed.
  • Potential witnesses can learn of recently missing or abducted children in their immediate area.

Visit Sprint’s online community site or FEMA.gov to learn more about Wireless Emergency Alerts and the CMAS program.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 53 million customers at the end of 3Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

 
There are 29 comments

Reader comments

Sprint flips the switch to become first U.S. carrier to launch Wireless Emergency Alerts

29 Comments
Sort by Rating

And I hope it *stays* this way.

What do you think the odds are that politicians will make a law or rule for themselves that allows them to use this the same way they make a gazillion political phone calls right around dinner time everytime we get close to an election? I think the answer is "high". Too many examples of bootleggers and baptists.

Ok, so noooowwwwww can they flip the switch to speed up 3g so we can get the alert while its still an emergency!!!

why does a country of this size need a nationwide alert system?
Arent state znd local officials the proper source for such alerts?

This sounds like more security theater to me.

We don't. What the politicians need is the premise of security in order to commandeer it for electioneering. See:

1) Bruce Yandle, Bootleggers and Baptists
2) The National Do Not Call Registry - conveniently exempted from political calls

Been w sprint for about 10yrs in StL and I agree 3g speeds and signal has definitely dropped in past year in my opinion. 4G is decent but not city wide and we all know the quirks w that. As far as the emergency messaging -no big deal. Lets face it I'd rather have some info in a emergency situation and quite frankly I don't see it actually being used very much. Kinda like the tone on TV or siren Ck once a month for bad weather. Isn't this kinda like the next evolution in those services we've had for decades. Radio,TV,sirens and now... our beloved lil devices we take with us everywhere. Seems smart in that sense. Thoughts?? Evo4g Cm7

e

Called reading.... left to right, top to bottom..
"The 90-character alerts will be delivered at no charge to the customer and have a distinctive vibration cadence and audio tone similar to what is heard for emergency alerts on broadcast television and radio. Additionally, notification of a wireless emergency alert will be distinguished in the handset’s messaging inbox with a distinctive icon".

oh don't be surprised when it shows up on your bill as a special "mandatory government emergency alert service surcharge fee" someday soon. this feature costs carriers money and they WILL find a way to pass that cost on to their customers.

You worry too much, you have to learn to trust corporate America (as he types you can almost feel the sarcasm dripping from his keyboard)

Not on Sprint (or any US carrier) so this really doesn't matter. The idea itself is good. Rapid access to information in an emergency or crisis situation CAN be a good thing. Of course it can also instill widespread panic too.

I don't know though. Even though today's smartphones are pretty much your whole life (and finances thanks to Google wallet) in your pocket, this seems a little "Big Brother-ish" to me. But whatever. It will be a while before something like this is available across the US, nevermind Canada - the home of 3yr contract...

Sprint I sort of like and you are the FIRST on almost everything so this makes you the "Guinea Pig" of the mobile network operators.

If we had an honest gov't this would be a great feature. However, I can see it being used quell the masses in a real emergency.

I don't know who came up with this but Verizon has been testing this system already for about 2 weeks already. I received a test emergency broadcast notification on my Droid X

Whoop De Do - How about they flip a different switch and give me half decent 3G speeds outside of major metropolitan areas. I'd ask for 4g improvement but I know that won't happen in my lifetime.

Been w sprint for about 10yrs in StL and I agree 3g speeds and signal has definitely dropped in past year in my opinion. 4G is decent but not city wide and we all know the quirks w that. As far as the emergency messaging -no big deal. Lets face it I'd rather have some info in a emergency situation and quite frankly I don't see it actually being used very much. Kinda like the tone on TV or siren Ck once a month for bad weather. Isn't this kinda like the next evolution in those services we've had for decades. Radio,TV,sirens and now... our beloved lil devices we take with us everywhere. Seems smart in that sense. Thoughts??
Evo4g
Cm7

Just seems kinda lame to me that it wouldn't be available for their best selling, most "powerful" (according to comparisons) phones. Or am I missing something? *she asks because she always does...*

My poor little Evo 4G just keeps plugging along...