Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Why Some AT&T Customers Aren’t Getting Those Wireless Alerts About Nemo

Many people in the Northeast have gotten a wireless alert on their cellphone in the last 24 hours, warning of the approaching blizzard.

blizzard_warning

Brooke Hammerling

However, AT&T customers on some of the latest devices haven’t been getting the messages. That’s because, for now, AT&T can only push the alerts on certain devices running on its older HSPA network, and not on the faster LTE network.

This was evident back when Hurricane Sandy hit last year, and an evacuation alert popped up on a Verizon iPhone 5 but not on an AT&T model in the same room.

AT&T hopes to have the alerts working on the faster network by the end of the year. But that means that, for now, folks will have to hear about the storm from a friend with an older phone, a phone on another network, turning on the TV, or by, say, looking out the window and seeing all that snow.

The alert system, which began last year, allows local, state and federal government agencies to push short messages out in the case of an approaching weather emergency, an Amber Alert or even a presidential decree. (Individual consumers can actually opt out of all but the last.)

All the major carriers and many smaller ones are on board with the program, but not all devices and areas are covered.

As of the end of last year, AT&T said a number of handsets supported the alerts, including several BlackBerry models, Samsung’s Galaxy S II, Galaxy Appeal and Captivate Glide, as well as the Motorola Atrix 2 and some models from Huawei and Alcatel.

The carrier has more information about its support of the system on its website.

For more on the alert system, here’s an interview I did with The Wall Street Journal Radio Network.


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