Why Some AT&T Users Didn't Receive Yesterday's Emergency Alert

Illustration for article titled Why Some ATT Users Didnt Receive Yesterdays Emergency Alert

If you were anywhere near the East Coast yesterday, you might have received an emergency storm alert on your phone telling you it's time to to break into mass hysteria. Or maybe you didn't! While it was nice to know that someone cared for those that got it, the emergency alert was hitting people's phones pretty sporadically and without any real rhyme or reason as to which phones were getting the message—or so it seemed.

Actually, at least in AT&T's case, it wasn't some higher being picking and choosing Deep-Impact-style who deserved a spot to safety. Rather, AT&T just hasn't updated its LTE alert system. Apparently, LTE's inability to carry the message has been common knowledge since Hurricane Sandy, when a Verizon iPhone 5 buzzed with an alert and it's AT&T counterpart right beside it remained silent.

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The alert system itself has been in place since last year with the purpose of allowing local, state, and federal agencies to send out a veritable cornucopia of hysteria-inducing messages about the weather, national emergencies, the Rapture, what have you. AT&T claims it hopes to have the alerts working "by the end of the year," but with the rate that natural disasters have been pummeling the globe recently, that doesn't quite seem soon enough. AT&T offers more information about its support of the system on its website, here. And now you know the rest of the story. [All Things D]

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It should be noted that even though Verizon seems to have been on top of this for a while not all devices are supported. For instance, my girlfriend got an alert on her Verizon iPhone 4s while I got nothing on my iPhone 4. I did some Googling and found that iPhones 4s and 5 are supported while those of us still using the lowly 4 will be alert-less and left for dead. Here is a complete list of Verizon supported devices:

http://support.verizonwireless.com/information/wea_devices.html