AT&T can’t deliver emergency alerts to the iPhone 5 and other smartphones on its 4G LTE network according to All Things D.
As people in the Northeast prepare for Winter Storm Nemo many received emergency notifications about the blizzard on their smartphones. Photos of the message flooded Twitter as soon as it appeared on iPhones yesterday. Except none of those messages came from iPhone 5s on AT&T.
AT&T support emergency notifications on its older “4G: HSPA+ network, but can’t send the notices to users on its 4G LTE network. So while iPhone 5 users on Verizon and Sprint jumped because of the sirens coming from their phones, AT&T iPhone 5 users heard nothing.
The emergency alert system lets local, state and federal governments push notifications of severe weather, Amber Alerts or presidential decrees to Americans. The alerts are on by default on many smartphones, but users can turn them off if they choose. Users who turn off emergency notifications will still receive messages about presidential decrees on their phones.
AT&T currently supports the system on a number of smartphones including several BlackBerrys, the Samsung Galaxy S 2, Samsung Galaxy Appeal, Samsung Galaxy Glide, Motorola Atrix 2, some phones from Huawei and some phones from Alcatel.
AT&T claims it will have emergency alerts working on 4G LTE smartphones before the end of 2013. Until then users will have to keep track of emergency weather updates in other ways. There are plenty of other ways to keep track of the weather, though emergency alerts make it easy to know when there’s something big as opposed to just a storm some people needlessly fear.
All major national carriers currently support the emergency notification system. AT&T is the only one that doesn’t support the feature on its 4G LTE network so far. Hopefully the carrier can expand its support for the system before the next major storm or emergency.