Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


CTIA Points to Advances in Wireless Emergency Alerts System

Says a growing number of smartphones are now WEA 3.0 capable

CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry, has reported new data to the FCC on the number of smartphones capable of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). 

In its recently filed comments, collected as part of the commission’s ongoing efforts to improve public alerting in the United States, CTIA says wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers have worked diligently to enhance the WEA system with new features, including improving geo-targeting capabilities (WEA 3.0), embedding clickable links and expanding WEA message lengths. 

The group, which says it analyzed wireless industry estimates of the current and projected market penetration of mobile devices, also notes wireless carriers’ support of Spanish language text and enabling live test alerts. 

[See Our Business and Law Page]

CTIA’s submission to the FCC included these findings:

  • Current Nationwide WEA 3.0 Handset Penetration: Using International Data Corporation data on handset shipments in the United States in 2021 and Q1 2022, and the share of such handsets that are WEA 3.0 capable, CITA has calculated a WEA 3.0 penetration figure of 60% of active smartphones, an increase from 34% last year.
  • Handset Adoption Estimates: Given the reported handset lifetime of 35 months, as estimated by Strategy Analytics in June 2022, and the annual and quarterly trend in the share of WEA 3.0 capable smartphones, CITA concludes that said handsets amount to a majority of active smartphones in use in 2022.

The WEA system is an alerting tool utilized by federal, state and local alert originators. The system is premised on the public-private partnership among alert originators — the FCC, FEMA and wireless communication providers, according to CTIA. 

Since the system’s first launch in 2012, over 70,000 WEAs have been sent throughout the United States to warn and inform millions of wireless consumers about imminent threats (such as tornados, wildfires, and hurricanes), abducted children (AMBER alerts) and various other emergencies, CTIA commented to the FCC.