The Indian government sent a test emergency alert to smartphones nationwide recently, rolled out in several states. The message read “emergency alert: severe” and informed recipients that it was a test and no action was required.
Many mobile users in India received a severe emergency alert from the government. This was part of a test of the country’s new emergency alert system, which is being deployed by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The test message was sent to a random sample of smartphones across India, and it caused users’ phones to emit a loud beep and display a flash message that read “emergency alert: severe.” The NDMA is using this test to assess the effectiveness of the alert system and to identify any potential problems.
The Department of Telecommunication (C-DOT) sent a test flash message today to many mobile users on different telecom operators in India. The message was sent between 12:00 and 12:44 PM IST through the Cell Broadcasting System. The message informed recipients that it was a test and that no action was required.
“Emergency alert: SEVERE.. This is a SAMPLE TESTING MESSAGE sent through Cell Broadcasting System by the Department of Telecommunication, Government of India. Please ignore this message as no action is required from your end. This message has been sent to test Pan-India Emergency Alert System being implemented by National Disaster Management Authority. It aims to enhance public safety and provide timely alerts during emergencies. Timestamp: 15-09-2023 12:19PM #0888758”reads a flash message received by multiple smartphone users.
Several Android users in Telangana also experienced an unexpected surprise as their phones blared a loud beeping sound, accompanied by a huge message on the screen. The message read, “This is a SAMPLE TESTING MESSAGE sent through Cell Broadcasting System by Department of Telecommunication, Government of India. Please ignore this message as no action is required from your end.”
Amused people began conversing about the message on social media platforms on Thursday. The Telangana State Police official X ( formerly Twitter) handle wrote, “Everyone will see this message coming to their mobile. No need to panic. During natural calamities, Central Telecommunication has sent a sample message system to be sent in case of any emergency situation in the country.”
Notably a similar flash message was sent to many users a few weeks ago. According to the Department of Telecommunications Cell Broadcasting System, they are further planning to conduct similar tests periodically in various regions. These tests are intended to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of mobile operators’ emergency warning broadcast capabilities and cell broadcast systems.
This message has been sent to TEST Pan-India Emergency Alert System being implemented by National Disaster Management Authority. It aims to enhance public safety and provide timely alerts during emergency.
Discussing the test earlier, C-DOT’s Chief Executive Officer, Rajkumar Upadhyay, informed PTI that the technology for cell broadcast is presently only available through a foreign vendor. Consequently, C-DOT is working on developing it internally. Upadhyay stated, “The cell broadcast technology is under development and will be utilized by NDMA to send alerts directly to mobile phone screens during disasters. It is currently undergoing testing on the Jio and BSNL networks.”
He further mentioned that there are various versions of the cell broadcast messages that need to be developed for propagation through the telecom network.