Yesterday (June 14), AT&T announced in its blog that it will be rolling out software updates for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S users with iOS 6.1 or higher. The said update will come with Wireless Emergency Alerts.
According to the carrier, Wireless Emergency Alerts are announcements issued by the government. These include AMBER alerts, emergency alerts for man-made or natural disasters and Presidential alerts.
In a Wikipedia entry, AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response. It was named after Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and killed in Arlington in the year 1996. The service aims to inform the public when a child has gone missing. The alert is triggered when all the criteria set by the U.S. Department of Justice for a missing child are met.
Emergency Alerts for Disasters
CTIA pointed out that these kind of alerts include disasters are either man-made or natural wherein immediate threat to property or life are present. Examples of these are earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and others.
CTIA said that these types of alerts come from the president or any of his authorized representatives. These are released to inform the public about issues that are of national significance.
About the Alerts
The Wireless Emergency Alerts are part of the Commercial Mobile Telephone Alerts (CMAS) from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) added the blog of AT&T. These are actually mandated by law.
Once a user gets the software update from AT&T, these are triggered on by default. However, iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S users who will be receiving this feature can still choose whether to turn the service on or off through the Notifications section under the Settings menu.
The network provider cleared out though that the added features will not be charged against the user’s data plan.