According to the FCC and FEMA, the alert message-which is not technically an SMS text message but akin to AMBER Alert messages-will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".
The Trump administration will send messages to more than 200 million USA cellphones on Wednesday testing a previously unused presidential alert system that aims to warn the public in the event of a national emergency. "No action is needed".
"Users may opt out of receiving alerts in the imminent threat and AMBER categories but can not opt out of receiving Presidential alerts", the agency said. They say it can't be used for any sort of personal message from the president.
The lawsuit compares the alert system to "hijacking private property for the goal of planting a Government-controlled loudspeaker in the home and on the person of every American". Unlike those alerts, phone users can not opt-out, or disable, their phones from receiving the message.
Don't freak out when your phone lights up and starts buzzing on Wednesday afternoon: it's only the federal government doing a nationwide test of the Presidential Alert system. Alerts of this type are typically sent to targeted geographic regions. It's also possible that if you leave your phone off or have a call that lasts for more than 30 minutes, you might not receive the alert at all.
A test of the new alert system is scheduled for this Wednesday after being postponed due to Hurricane Florence.
This is the first time the Wireless Emergency Alert system has been tested on a national level.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website notes that this is the fourth EAS test but just the first test conducted on all wireless devices. That can include radio and television, and in this case, cell phone services.
A second alert on television broadcast and radio will go off at 8:20 a.m. Hawaii time.
Officials from FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission said that in previous local tests, the message was successfully received by about 75% of phones.
Only wireless providers who have chosen to participate in the national WEA test will deliver the WEA message to their customers' mobile devices.
To help ensure that WEA alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities, WEA alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration. Others will not. No action is required.
So older phones with updated software may still get the alerts.