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AT&T Wireless subscribers to get emergency alerts on iPhone 4S and 5

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AT&T today announced that subscribers who have either the iPhone 5 or 4S will begin receiving a software update which will enable their phones to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts.

With Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) enabled, users will receive text alerts whenever an alert goes into effect. Note, though, that these alerts do not constitute text messages and therefore will not count against a user's data plan.

There are three different types of WEA alerts a user might receive to his/her mobile device.

  1. AMBER Alert - An AMBER alert is sent when a child has been abducted and may be in the same surrounding area as the recipient.
  2. Imminent Threat Alert - This type of alert is sent to warn citizens of an impending disaster, weather or otherwise. The CTIA notes that this alert encompasses any event that poses an "imminent threat to life or property."
  3. Presidential Alerts - As the name implies, these are alerts sent straight from the President.

AT&T notes that users who so choose can go toggle off WEA alerts. Note, however, that Presidential Alerts can never be turned off.

Lastly, AT&T indicates that the aforementioned software update will be pushed out to iPhone devices running iOS 6.1 and higher.

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