Earlier today, a handful of T-Mobile customers were awoken to a bizarre text marked "Presidential Alert: test," which arrived without explanation. One such customer was Lance Ulanoff, who was alerted via a siren sound on his HTC Radar 4G and tweeted the above image to his followers.
It looks like T-Mobile jumped the gun, trialling a new FEMA alert system that's not meant to be tested until November 9th, at 2PM ET. The system is called PLAN or Personal Localized Alert Network, and it's a modern day update of an air-raid siren — or the familiar tornado warning for those of you who live in the Midwest. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all signed up to be on board with the system by April next year, and it'll allow them to send geographically relevant alerts to users. The system can only push out alerts for three reasons: Amber alerts, imminent threats to the life of people, and those issued by the President. While that probably means President Obama issues a command to FEMA to send out a warning, there's always the chance he'll reclaim his BlackBerry and start drunk texting the entire population of the United States at 3AM.