Wireless AMBER Alerts
Wireless AMBER Alert Program Transitioning
As a part of the nation's transition to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program, the Wireless AMBER Alert program™ will be discontinued on December 31, 2012. The WEA program, which launched in April, not only delivers AMBER Alerts, but also Presidential and Imminent Threat Alerts to cell phone users with WEA-capable handsets.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) partnered with wireless carriers to offer WEA to supplement the existing Emergency Alert System. Consumers with WEA-capable phones and services are automatically enrolled to receive all wireless emergency alerts for free.
Cellcom is one of eight wireless carriers that chose to participate in the WEA program and our entire network was enabled to send these alerts beginning in April of 2012. When given the choice, we thought participating in the program was important for our customers and with the elimination of the Wireless AMBER Alert program, we are pleased to have another option ready for our customers.
Unlike Wireless AMBER Alerts, the WEA Alerts use the latest technology to send messages targeted by location to wireless customers with WEA-capable handsets. For example, if a Green Bay resident was visiting Chicago and a WEA AMBER Alert was issued in Chicago, the subscriber would receive the alert. At the same time, if an alert was issued in Green Bay, the subscriber would not receive it while in Chicago.
The wireless customers currently enrolled in the Wireless AMBER Alerts program will receive text messages about the transition and alternative sources for receiving AMBER Alerts.
FAQs about Wireless AMBER Alerts and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
Why is the Wireless AMBER Alerts program ending?
When is the Wireless AMBER Alert program ending?
Who made the decision to discontinue the Wireless AMBER Alert program?
What makes the WEA AMBER Alerts different than the Wireless AMBER Alerts?
Will I be charged for receiving alerts?
Do I have to enroll to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts?
How do I know if my Cellcom device is WEA-capable?
What if my device is not WEA-capable or WEA isn’t available in my area? How can I still receive AMBER Alerts?
For additional FAQs about the WEA program, click here.
History of AMBER Alerts and Wireless AMBER alerts
The Office of Justice Program's AMBER (America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert Program, named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, is a voluntary partnership among law enforcement agencies, the wireless industry, transportation officials, broadcasters and other entities to activate an urgent bulletin to find abducted children. Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary is the National AMBER Alert Coordinator responsible for this national network.
Before Wireless AMBER Alerts, AMBER Alerts were issued via television, radio and Department of Transportation highway signs when a child was believed to have been abducted and in extreme danger. The wireless industry launched the Wireless AMBER Alerts program in 2005 because its members believed its technology could expand the Alerts' reach to aid in the recovery of abducted children.
Statistics show that the first three hours after an abduction are the most critical in recovery efforts, and being able to quickly engage the public in the search for an abducted child can help law enforcement bring that child home safely.