Carriers and Federal Gov Kick Off Emergency Alerts
The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service, a joint effort between U.S. wireless network operators and the federal government, officially launches this month. The WEA will deliver text message warnings to cell phone users based on a number of potential hazards, including tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, dust storms, extreme winds, blizzards, and ice storms. The messages are delivered based on location, so even those who are traveling will receive alerts for where they are, not where they live, if there's danger. Carriers participating in the program include AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. "These text alerts will be very brief, under 90 characters," said National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan in an interview with USA Today. They "are intended to prompt people to immediately seek additional information through the wide range of weather alert communications available to them, such as the Internet, television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio." The alerts are not sent via the traditional SMS pipes, and are instead delivered through a system that is not affected by congestion. The WAE can also deliver both AMBER Alerts and Presidential Alerts. Wireless subscribers can opt out of AMBER and Weather Alerts but not Presidential Alerts.
U.S. Carriers Share Galaxy S9 and S9+ Launch Plans and Pricing
All four major carriers in the U.S. plan to sell the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ beginning in March.
Sprint Targeting a Fall Launch for VoLTE
Sprint expects to deploy voice over LTE across its network starting this fall. Sprint competitors AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless already offer VoLTE across the bulk of their footprints, making Spring the last major carrier to deploy the upgraded voice technology.
Oreo Hitting Most US Versions of Samsung Galaxy S8
People in the U.S. who own the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ can expect to see Android 8 Oreo reach their phone over the coming days.
U.S. Carriers Creating Stronger Tool to Verify Customer ID
All four major carriers in the U.S., AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, are building a "multi-factor authentication" method that will rely on peoples' cell phones to gain account access. The system, which has been in development since last September, is expected to launch before the end of the year.
Android Messages with RCS to Reach More Phones On More Carriers
Google says its Android Messages app is on the upswing thanks to new RCS-based tools and growing support from phone makers and wireless network operators. To start, brands now have more power to interact with consumers thanks to RCS business messaging.