Public Safety/911

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

WEA is a public safety notification system that enables authorized agencies to send text-like messages to consumers with capable wireless devices to alert them of emergencies in their area.

Through the use of cell towers, WEA allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deliver emergency warnings to specific geographic regions. After receiving a warning, local cell towers broadcast a wireless alert to a dedicated receiver within alert-capable devices in the area.

Wireless carrier participation in WEA is voluntary.

(Commercial Mobile Alert Service)

T-Mobile has chosen to offer wireless emergency alerts within portions of its service area, as defined by the terms and conditions of its service agreement, on wireless emergency alert capable devices. There is no additional charge for these wireless emergency alerts.

Wireless emergency alerts may not be available on all devices or outside of the T-Mobile service area. For details on the availability of this service and wireless emergency alert capable devices, please ask a sales representative, review the Frequently Asked Questions below, or click our list of alert-capable devices.

Notice required by FCC Rule 47 C.F.R. §10.240 (Commercial Mobile Alert Service).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What types of alerts will WEA deliver?

A: WEA alerts the public about critical emergencies such as wildfires and hurricanes, major highway accidents, university campus lockdowns, and child abductions. Alerts are issued by the National Weather Service, state and local authorities, and the president of the United States. There are three specific types.

  1. Presidential Alerts
  2. Imminent Threats to Life and Property Alerts
  3. AMBER Alerts

Q: Who will receive WEA alerts?    

A: Alerts are geographically targeted, so only customers currently in the threat area will receive them. For example: If an alert is sent in New York, a customer with a capable device who lives in that area will not receive the alert if they are in Chicago at the time the alert is sent. Similarly, someone with a capable device visiting New York from Chicago when the alert is sent would receive the alert.

Q: Do I need GPS for alerts to work?   

A: No. Alerts are not delivered to specific phones, so WEA does not need to identify your phone’s location. Rather, an alert is broadcast to a specific area. Any capable device on the T-Mobile network located in that area will receive the alert.

Q: What if I travel into an affected area after an alert is sent?

A: Alerts will be sent every 5 minutes until the alert expires. So, if you travel into an affected area after the original alert is sent, you will receive a subsequent alert (unless the alert is expired). Your device will only display the alert once.

Q: Are WEA alerts free?              

A: Yes. Customers do not pay to receive WEA alerts.

Q: Do I have to sign up to receive alerts?

A: No. T-Mobile customers with capable devices are automatically signed up for WEA.

Q: Can I block WEA alerts?   

A: Partially. You can block alerts involving imminent threats to safety and/or AMBER Alerts; but, you cannot block emergency alerts issued by the President of the United States. See the user manual for your device for instructions or review general blocking instructions.

Q: What will happen when I receive a WEA alert?

A: WEA alerts appear much like a text message and are accompanied by a unique audible signal and vibration. Alerts will be short, easy to read, and contain basic information.

Q: What devices are capable of receiving WEA alerts?

A: You will need an alert-capable handset if you wish to receive alerts. See the list of T-Mobile’s alert-capable devices. We continue to add models to this list. A limited number of T-Mobile devices will just require a software upgrade to become alert-capable.

Q: Can I receive WEA alerts if I have a prepaid phone?

A: Yes. You can receive alerts on a prepaid phone as long as your device is alert-capable.

Q: Why did the government start WEA?

A: WEA is designed to supplement the existing Emergency Alert System which announces public safety alerts through broadcasters and other media service providers. The system was implemented by the FCC in response to the Warning, Alert and Response Act passed by Congress in 2006.

Q: Does the WEA program have other names?

A: Some agencies and carriers may refer to WEA as the “Personal Localized Alerting Network” (or PLAN). Others may call WEA the “Commercial Mobile Alert System” (or CMAS). These names all refer to the WEA public safety system.

Q: How can I learn more about WEA?

A: For more information, visit the FCC website.