Receiving emergency calls/messages

Greece is currently on fire. This has created a lot of emergency messages from civil protection using the European number 112 to evacuate certain cities or villages that the fire approaches.
However not all phones receive these messages and L5 is one of them. A Samsung S8 receives the emergency message. A Samsung A50 does not. L5 does not.

I wonder why this behavior? Is this something fixable? You understand that to be able to receive emergency messages from civil protection is critical. L5 must be able to receive them. Is it some kind of configuration?

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This article here:
https://www.ready.gov/alerts
says that the device must support “Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs)”.
What about the modem of L5? Does it support WEAs ?

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This is a US Government site and as such may not pertain to Greece.

It looks to me like, at least with the major carriers in the US, this is SMS-CB and ‘normal’ text messages are SMS-PP https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_Broadcast

This seems like a difficult thing to test and implement as I haven’t found much in the way of proper documentation and it’s not like you can send a test broadcast easily to see what you see and if what you’re trying to do worked.

If there isn’t already an issue open with development (via source.puri.sm I think) then one should probably be opened up?

Yes, they are almost certainly sending the emergency messages as cell broadcast messages.

This is a feature that was present from the early days of 2G GSM networks, with widespread support in phones from the pre-smartphone era, provided you can find out what channel numbers you need to subscribe to in order to receive local emergency messages. More modern phones take away the need to manually subscribe to emergency alerts, and probably add some extra features on top, but I believe it’s the same basic feature. Caveat: my country never sends cell broadcast messages, so I have no first-hand experience of this actually working in practice.

Unfortunately cell broadcast messages are not something the Librem 5 currently supports. So, if you need a way to get access to the messages right now, I would think your best option is to pick them up on an old phone. Some phones might even pick up the messages without a SIM, if you’re lucky.

You might find that the Samsung A50 lets you configure subscription to emergency messages and/or to specific cell broadcast channels. I have no experience with the A50, but this would be the logical thing. It would be worth having a look in the settings to make sure.

It looks like Librem5 cell broadcast message support is on the cards. But more work is required to make it happen, which means that if it gets implemented it might be too late to be of any help in the current emergency.

I also found a discussion about emergency alerts in Mobian, which is relevant because PureOS and Mobian share quite a few software components.

Sorry that this isn’t much help. I hope you manage to keep out of danger.

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It’s not just the modem though. If the modem delivers the message to the phone then the phone has to understand what the message is, how it is formatted, and what to do with it.

This, unfortunately.

My country does send some kind of emergency alert message, but that tends to be in summer, for bushfires, and I have a gaggle of legacy iPhones to act as “controls”. So I’ll report back in maybe six months time.

In the meantime, @antonis, stay safe.

This is an issue in Chatty that is still being worked on: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/chatty/-/issues/513

We understand that this is critical.

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Since posting this, I’ve discovered that this is not strictly true. It is true that the authorities in my country (UK) do not send emergency alerts by this mechanism. However, the Vodafone (UK) and O2 UK networks do apparently continuously send cell broadcast messages, which were originally meant to inform users of the local telephone area code. This information was at one time relevant for billing purposes but is now largely redundant and no longer always accurate, but they still send the messages. These messages might be suitable for testing some aspects of cell broadcast message reception.

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Thank you.