uk emergency alert test failed for three users

Didn’t Receive the UK Emergency Alert? You’re not alone

Today, Sunday 23rd April, was the day every mobile user in the UK was supposed to receive an emergency alert test at 3pm. Assuming they hadn’t opted out in Settings. Shortly afterwards though, it became clear lots of people didn’t have their device trigger and sound the alert. And most are on Three, or an MVNO backed by Three.

UK Emergency Alert – Issues with Three

The culprit for most people that didn’t receive the UK emergency alert was mobile operator Three, or an MVNO carried by Three.

Speculation on Twitter suggests that it’s to do with Three not ‘repeating the alert signal enough. Phones only check into their mobile mast intermittently, so if the alert signal is broadcast once, devices might miss it as they aren’t checking in at the right moment.

The alert signal should be repeated over around a 15 minute window. This isn’t the first time Three have had issues with this particular test either.

David Wheatley on Twitter dig into this. Full thread here:

Some people on Three will have received it fine. It’s down to luck on the timing. A percentage of Three users devices will have checked in to the cell tower (mobile mast) at the time the alert was set, and received the alert. But since the alert was not set to repeat by Three, a much larger percentage will have missed the window and therefore received no alert.

What’s an MVNO?

An MVNO or “Mobile Virtual Network Operator” is a mobile network that is ‘carried’ (supplied) by one of the ‘main’ mobile network operators – these are O2, Vodafone, EE and Three.

MVNOs like IDMobile are on Three, Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile are ‘carried’ by O2 etc.

There is a full list of UK MVNOs here.


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