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AT&T and FirstNet team up on compatible phones for first responders, here's the list

AT&T is the preeminent carrier when it comes to natural and man-made disaster services now. Back in 2017, it won a quarter-century contract from FirstNet to roll out and maintain a dedicated LTE network that will exclusively serve the communication needs of "first responders" like police officers, firefighters, emergency medical and other services throughout the United States' 56 states and territories. 

This first responders' network has been a long time coming, ever since the 9/11 communications kerfuffle forced the government to set aside 700 MHz band 14 spectra and a couple of billions to build a nationwide emergency platform, and awarded the goods to AT&T last year. Verizon's current emergency network offering, however, will also be upgraded for better performance, and a VP was quick to remind everyone that Verizon has 400,000 square miles more territory covered than AT&T. AT&T, in its turn, promised that 95% of the US population will be covered by 2022, and FirstNet will run on its own hardware, separate from all commercial traffic. 

In fact, FirstNet just sent us a press release that details how its partnership with AT&T will play out in terms of available phones. All those firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency responders who aren't provided with a compatible device by their respective agencies can pop into an AT&T store, or sign up for one online. They will get a FirstNet SIM card that would give them access to the physically separate network core. 

Since about 70% of the firefighters in the U.S. are volunteers, the freedom to sign up as Subscriber Paid Users in addition to Agency Paid Users (the FirstNet access tiers), will let them use the same channels as if they were government or state agency employees. In addition, AT&T listed all the phones that are fully or partially compatible with its FirstNet core out of the box, here's the list:


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