If they start testing it on my cellphone that often I'm going to pretty much go berserk.
Test messages will not display on phones other than test sets owned by the phone company.
Chances are most network carriers *will* implement this over SMS.
SMS is too slow, and logistically backwards. The idea is to reach all the phones in a targeted area immediately, not to send an SMS to each and every phone one by one that signed up for notifications. Even if they did sign up they might be hundreds of miles away where the alert is not relevant.
Long story short - why do they want a separate chip, exactly?
It's a different broadcast message signal from the usual SMS message you can get now, so it requires different hardware to pick up.
It sounds like an excuse to keep the cellular system proprietary to me. Radio communication is being cloaked in secrecy. As a hobbyist it is not easy to tinker with. It is disturbing to me that there is some information about how things are done that is entrusted to manufacturers but not the general public.
I work on the Alcatel-Lucent product being used by Sprint, AT&T, VZW, and others. I've been on it since day one. Take a look at 3GPP TS 25.419 (SABP for UMTS), this is the interface from the CBC to the RNC. There are other standards for the radio interface, sorry i don't know about those, but they are published 3GPP standards.
GSM phones have Cell Broadcast that is similar to SMS. I would expect that CDMA phones have something similar to that.
I work on the Alcatel-Lucent product being used by Sprint, AT&T, VZW, and others. I've been on it since day one. Yes, CDMA supports this broadcast capability. In some ways I think CDMA supports this better than GSM / UMTS.
I wonder what level of geographical specificity is possible? Hopefully this will broadcast to selected towers instead of selected phone numbers.
I work on the Alcatel-Lucent product being used by AT&T, VZW, Sprint, and others. I've been involved with this product since day one. Alert areas can be as small as one cell, or it can be the entire United States. Target areas can be based on geocodes (states, counties, some cities, FEMA regions, NWS regions, and some others), polygons, circles. How FEMA and NWS end up using it is an open question, but I get the impression most of the alerts they will generate will go out at the county level. Just like the "tornado sirens" now. This may get refined over time to smaller areas as they gain experience with the system.