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AT&T Not Bringing Text-to-911 to Cricket’s CDMA Network

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 12:35pm
Ben Munson

AT&T is coming along with its voluntary commitment to deploy text-to-911 service on its networks. But the carrier won’t be bringing that technology to Cricket Wireless, at least while AT&T’s newly acquired prepaid carrier still runs on CDMA.

In a filing with the FCC, AT&T said both Cricket and Aio Wireless—AT&T’s existing prepaid brand which the carrier intends to merge with Cricket—are exempt from the carrier’s voluntary commitment to roll out text-to-911 by May 15, 2014. But AT&T said it plans to bring text-to-911 to both prepaid brands “as soon as possible via Cricket Wireless.”

AT&T last month officially closed its acquisition of Leap Wireless, which operates as Cricket. AT&T said it expects to shutter Cricket’s CDMA within 12 to 18 months following the closure.

AT&T also updated the Commission on its progress deploying text-to-911. The carrier has chosen Intrado as its Text Control Center (TCC) vendor and has handled 32 requests for text-to-911 service covering approximately 105 individual Public-Safety Answering Points (PSAP) and 4 statewide operations.

AT&T said based on the early trials it expects to offer text-to-911 nationwide on per request from individual PSAPs.

Though the FCC is getting voluntary support from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, the Commission is still considering speeding up the timeline for text-to-911 service deployments. The FCC is currently gauging whether carriers have the technical ability to fully launch text-to-911 by the end of the year.

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