Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)

What is CMAS?
How does CMAS work?
How do operators procure WEAC handsets?
What are the timeline requirements for compliance?
Do operators need to have cell broadcast functionality completed before they opt in?
What are the minimum technical requirements for compliance?
Can operators opt out of the CMAS program? If so, what steps must be taken by the operator?
Does Interop Technologies offer a CMAS solution?
Why should you consider implementing Interop Technologies’ Hosted CMAS solution?
What CMAS training is available?


With a lengthy history in the wireless service provider business, Interop Technologies is a trusted partner to wireless and broadband operators worldwide and a proven leader in hosted messaging, device provisioning and management, and connectivity gateway solutions.

As the technology and the industry continue to evolve, Interop is committed to staying ahead of the curve with respect to changes that affect wireless and broadband operators. One of these changes involves compliance with the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS). While there has been much discussion about CMAS in the industry and in recent national headlines, you may still have questions about requirements and compliance.

The information below outlines CMAS and explains what operators need to do to comply. As with all of our solutions, Interop Technologies aims to simplify compliance for operators by offering a hosted CMAS solution—alleviating the headaches that often are associated with such solutions and significantly reducing the investment needed to launch the system.

What is CMAS?

The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) is one of the major components of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). CMAS will provide an interface to participating wireless operators and paging service providers for delivery of critical alert information to subscribers located in an affected area.

Specifically, CMAS will provide federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local government officials with the ability to send 90-character, geographically targeted text alerts to the public, warning of imminent threats to life and property. The wireless industry, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) are critical partners with FEMA in developing this new alerting capability.

Through CMAS, wireless operators will be able to deliver three classes of text-based alerts, including Presidential, Imminent Threat (e.g. tornado), and AMBER alerts, to subscribers who have a Wireless Emergency Alerts Compatible™ (WEAC) handset.

How does CMAS work?

CMAS consists of an end-to-end system by which the Federal Alert Gateway receives, authenticates, validates, and formats federal, state, tribal, and local alerts and then forwards them to the appropriate Commercial Mobile Service Provider (CMSP) Gateway. The CMSP Gateway and associated infrastructure process the alerts and transmits them to subscriber handsets. The CMSP Gateway forwards alerts to subscribers using the operator's cell broadcast technology. (Operators that opt in must ensure their switches support cell broadcast.)

How do operators procure WEAC handsets?

Handset manufacturers have committed to provide CMAS functionality in their future models, while some currently available handsets are already compatible. Handsets capable of receiving CMAS alerts are designated by the WEAC logo on device packaging.

What are the timeline requirements for compliance?

Government provisions allow for a development and testing time period, leading up to the initial CMAS launch of April 2012. Operators that aren't ready for the first CMAS rollout can still opt in. Interop's hosted CMSP Gateway provides the fastest, most cost-effective option for CMAS compliance.

Do operators need to have cell broadcast functionality completed before they opt in?

No, operators can opt in and complete required FEMA paperwork prior to completing their cell broadcast upgrades. However, the later stage end-to-end system testing requires cell broadcast functionality to be completed.

What are the minimum technical requirements for compliance?

Interop Technologies provides a simple connection from its hosted CMSP Gateway to an operator's CDMA, GSM, or UMTS network. An operator can deliver text-based alerts that originate from the Federal Alert Gateway directly to subscribers who have a WEAC handset via the operator's cellular broadcast network.

Can operators opt out of the CMAS program?
If so, what steps must be taken by the operator?


Yes, a Commercial Mobile Service Provider (CMSP), or operator, can elect not to transmit alert messages in whole or in part. If an operator chooses not to transmit alert messages, the operator must notify existing subscribers of non-participation in the following manner:

  1. An operator that elects not to transmit CMAS Alert Messages, in part or in whole, shall provide clear and conspicuous notice, which takes into account the needs of persons with disabilities, to existing subscribers of its non-election or partial election to provide alert messages by means of an announcement amending the existing subscriber’s service agreement.

  2. In the case of prepaid subscribers: If a mailing address is available, the operator shall provide the required notification via U.S. mail. If no mailing address is available, the operator shall use any reasonable method at its disposal to alert subscribers to a change in the terms and conditions of service and direct the subscriber to a voice-based notification or to a website providing the required notification. For new subscribers, the operator needs to include notices in all point-of-sale materials (e.g. in-store kiosks, third-party reseller locations, websites, and any other methods through which the operator’s devices and services are marketed or sold).

  3. Operators must notify subscribers sixty (60) days following an announcement by the FCC that the CMAS system is operational and capable of delivering emergency alerts to participating operators.

Does Interop Technologies offer a CMAS solution?
If so, does the solution meet government compliance guidelines?


Yes, Interop Technologies can provide a hosted CMSP Gateway solution in compliance with federal CMAS system requirements and has multiple implementations underway.

Why should you consider implementing Interop Technologies’
Hosted CMAS solution?


By implementing the Interop Technologies hosted CMSP Gateway solution, you can comply with federal guidelines to offer alert notifications to your subscribers while minimizing CAPEX. You can focus on your core business while Interop manages the CMSP Gateway system, ensuring that all requirements continue to be met—even after the launch. Our world-class, geo-redundant hosting facilities, located in Fort Myers, FL, and Dallas, TX, offer state-of-the-art security and telco–grade reliability—essential for critical solutions such as CMAS.

What CMAS training is available?

Our Product Education Center offers an online CMAS learning material covering basic concepts through administration of our CMSP Gateway. In addition, you can take advantage of an online course offered by FEMA for more in-depth training. Its lessons include Introduction to IPAWS; Appropriate, Effective, and Accessible Alert and Warning Messages; and Common Alerting Protocol Message Composition.

Email us today for more information on our hosted CMSP Gateway solution.

Visit our web site at www.interoptechnologies.com