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. Wireless carrier participation in WEA is voluntary.
NOTICE REGARDING TRANSMISSION OF WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS (Commercial Mobile Alert Service)
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Wireless emergency alerts, including enhanced geo-targeting, may not be available on all devices or in the entire service area, or if a subscriber is outside of the Metro service area. For details on the availability of this service on wireless emergency alert capable devices, including the availability and benefits of enhanced geo-targeting, 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).
Note: Not all devices are capable of providing all wireless emergency alert functionality. As advanced WEA features are deployed by government agencies, they will become more widely available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Metro devices are capable of receiving wireless emergency alerts?
A detailed list of devices on Metro’s network and their level of WEA functionality can be found here.
What types of alerts will WEA deliver?
WEA provides alerts that notify the public about critical emergencies such as wildfires and hurricanes, major highway accidents, university campus lockdowns, and child abductions. Alerts are issued by, among others, the National Weather Service, state and local authorities, and the President of the United States. Specific alert types include:
- National Alerts
- Imminent Threats to Life and Property Alerts
- AMBER Alerts
- Public Safety Messages
Certain WEA messages are enabled by default on all WEA-capable phones. National Alerts, which are issued by authority of the President or Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are enabled by default and cannot be turned off.
Can I turn WEA alerts on and off?
Yes, users can opt in or opt out of receiving all WEA messages with the exception of National Alerts, which cannot be turned off. See your phone’s User Manual for more information about Settings.
Who will receive WEA alerts?
Wireless Emergency Alerts are geographically targeted by the government agency sending them, so only customers currently in the targeted area should receive them. For example: if a Wireless Emergency Alert is sent in New York, a customer with a WEA 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 WEA capable device visiting New York from Chicago when the alert is sent would receive the alert.
What are the capabilities of WEA devices?
WEA capabilities may vary depending on the device location at the time the alert is issued (e.g., whether device is within or outside
Advanced WEA features may also be available, depending on your device. For a detailed list of devices on Metro’s network and their level of WEA functionality, click here.
What advanced WEA functions are also available on certain devices?
In addition to being able to receive text notice of an emergency in the area in which a customer is currently located, certain devices are also capable of advanced WEA functions. The following is a list of currently available advanced functions. For detailed list of devices on Metro’s network and their level of WEA functionality, click here.
Advanced WEA functions:
- Additional Information Links: When made available by the Alert sender, devices capable of receiving Additional Information Links will include a link in the wireless emergency alert that users can use to connect with additional information about the emergency.
- Alert Preservation: This capability is intended to allow users to find WEA messages that have been dismissed. Capable devices are required to preserve WEA messages for at least twenty-four hours after receipt, or until they are deleted by the user.
- 360 Character Support: When made available by the Alert sender, devices capable of 360 Character Support may receive wireless emergency alert messages up to the limit of 360 characters. Devices that do not have this feature may be limited to the original limit of 90 characters.
- Concurrent Presentation: Devices capable of Concurrent Presentation will receive WEA Messages as soon as they are received, even if the device is engaged in an active voice or data session. Note that the alert will not preempt (i.e., disconnect) any active voice or data session.
- Spanish Language Support: Devices capable of Spanish Language Support can receive messages in Spanish as well as English. The default language on the phone must be set to ‘Spanish’ for this feature to work. See your phone’s User Manual for more information about Settings.
- Public Safety: Public Safety Messages are an essential public safety advisory that prescribes one or more actions likely to save lives and/or safeguard property. Alert originators are expected to only issue Public Safety Messages in connection with an Imminent Threat Alert, an AMBER Alert, or a National Alerts. Public Safety Messages are enabled by default on capable devices, but users may disable this functionality in their device’s settings. See your device’s User Manual for more information about Settings.
- State and Local Test Alerts: Users with devices that have this capability can opt into receiving alerts that help municipalities test their WEA functionality in a way that mirrors actual alert conditions. These alerts are expected to contain conspicuous language to make it clear they are only tests and not actual Wireless Emergency Alerts. Where this capability is available, it is by default turned off. If users want to receive these test alerts, they must enable this functionality in their device’s settings. See your device’s User Manual for more information about Settings.
- Device-based enhanced geo-targeting: When used by alert originators, this capability is intended to more accurately target the delivery of WEA messages to a defined geographic area, which will help to avoid unnecessarily disturbing users outside that area. Device-based enhanced geo-targeting relies on the device’s location settings and may or may not be enabled by default on capable devices.
Note: As advanced WEA features are deployed by government agencies, they will become more widely available. Some Metro devices may require a software update to add additional WEA functionality. Make sure to download the software updates sent to your device.
What is enhanced geo-targeting?
Enhanced geo-targeting is intended to improve delivery accuracy of WEA messages to those inside impacted areas, without disturbing others. Enhanced geo-targeting works by comparing your device’s calculated location to the area designated by the alert originator. Devices that have location settings disabled will therefore not benefit from the enhanced geo-targeting and might receive an alert message, even if outside of the alert area. In the event location services on your device are turned off, or your device is not capable of enhanced geo-targeting, a WEA message will display if your device is calculated to be within the network’s best approximation of the target area.
Enhanced geo-targeting may not be available on all devices or in all service areas. A detailed list of devices on
Will I receive messages based on my device location without enhanced geo-targeting?
If your device does not support enhanced geo-targeting, or if it does support enhanced geo-targeting but your location settings are turned off, you will still receive messages based on your device location. However, you may receive messages covering a broader geographic area.
Do I need GPS for alerts to work?
No. Alerts are broadcast to all WEA-capable devices in a specific area of the network. This process does not rely on the device’s GPS.
What if I travel into an affected area after an alert is sent?
Alerts will be sent to any new customers entering the affected area approximately every 5 minutes until the alert expires. So, if you travel into an affected area after the original alert is sent, you should still receive an alert (unless it has expired). Your device will only display the alert once.
Are WEA messages free?
Yes. Customers do not pay any connection or data fees when receiving WEA messages.
Do I have to sign up to receive alerts?
No. Metro customers with devices designed to receive WEA messages are automatically signed up.
Can I block WEA alerts?
Partially. You can block alerts involving imminent threats to safety, AMBER Alerts, and Public Safety Messages, which are enabled by default. You cannot block National Alerts issued by the President of the United States or FEMA Administrator. State and local testing alerts are disabled by default and can be turned on or off. See your device’s User Manual for more information.
What will happen when I receive a WEA alert?
WEA messages 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. If you are using a device with Advanced WEA Capabilities, the alert may also include a link to additional information, if provided by the government agency sending the alert.
Can I receive WEA alerts if I have a prepaid phone?
Yes. You can receive alerts on a prepaid device as long as your device is alert-capable.
Does Metro support state and local WEA testing?
Yes. State and Local Test Alerts allow government agencies to test WEA messages in a way that mirrors actual alert conditions. The alert originators are expected to include conspicuous language that make it clear they are only tests and not actual emergencies.
State and Local Test Alerts are disabled by default on all WEA-capable devices.
Will WEA alerts display on devices other than handsets?
WEA messages may appear on certain devices other than handsets (for example, some tablets and smartwatches). This list includes the handsets and other devices that support WEA functionality and have been tested by Metro by