Lte | 2020-03-31

First Responder Public Safety Agencies Can Now Get Free Smartphones for Life

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet, the only nationwide high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders.

As the US continues to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the FirstNet communications platform in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – is bringing advanced capabilities to first responders across the country. Now, first responder public safety agencies on FirstNet can get premium FirstNet Ready smartphone devices for free for their agency paid users to connect them to critical communications when and where they need it most. All they have to do is get a new FirstNet Mobile – Unlimited for Smartphone line of service or eligible upgrade with either a 2-year service agreement or a new AT&T Installment 30-month agreement and meet some other conditions.1

“First responders deserve a dedicated communications partner that can provide the tools they need, when they need them, and that’s exactly what they’re getting with FirstNet,” said Jason Porter, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T. “We are here working side-by-side with public safety and together we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19. Now, agencies spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations can stay up-to-date with smartphones for life at no additional cost and know their responders’ devices are up to the task when the next emergency strikes.”

The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet, the only nationwide high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders. While commercial wireless offerings are available to public safety, FirstNet continues to grow because its public safety features stand above other wireless networks built for commercial use. As we detailed last week, this is exactly the type of crisis that public safety designed FirstNet for.

In addition to public safety agencies having free smartphones for life, to support FirstNet subscribers responding to the coronavirus, first responders can also benefit from:

  • Expanded mapping visibility. Through Local Control, the primary service portal for agencies using FirstNet, public safety administrators now have easy access to the interactive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) dashboard created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Agencies can view confirmed cases in relation to their jurisdiction and couple this insight with the FirstNet Esri-embedded network status map – that now includes hospital and trauma levels – for better situational awareness.
  • $200 activation credit for FirstNet subscribers.2 Starting April 1, individual first responders who sign-on to FirstNet and pay for their own service can get a $200 activation credit when activating a new FirstNet Ready smartphone on a new FirstNet First Mobile-Responder plan. This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to the fastest overall nationwide network experience.3