E911 Compliance FAQs
What is Wireless Enhanced 911?
Verizon Wireless routes 911 calls to designated emergency call takers, often local or county police, fire and rescue departments, known as Public Safety Answering Points or PSAPs. Verizon Wireless provides PSAPs with what's known as Enhanced 911 or E911 service where PSAPs have upgraded their equipment, which automatically provides call takers with the mobile telephone number and the estimated location of the 911 caller to assist them in dispatching emergency assistance. The most advanced form of E911 service is referred to as Phase 2.Back to top
What happens when I dial 911 from my wireless device?
Calls to 911 are routed and answered according to guidelines set by local public safety officials in your area. For example, some PSAPs answer emergency calls centrally for their entire state, others for their county or town. Most transfer calls or dispatch a responder nearest the emergency.Back to top
Verizon Wireless provides enhanced location information to emergency call takers but it cannot guarantee your precise location. Customers should remember that wireless phones are radios and can react to the environment. Rain, snow, fog, falling leaves, water, mountains, canyons and buildings may affect service. And in some places Public Safety call takers still rely only on the caller's descriptions to locate and dispatch help to people in emergency situations.
Where is E911 available?
Verizon Wireless' Enhanced 911 service works only where PSAPs have upgraded their equipment/systems to be able to read and use the Enhanced 911 location data. (Less than half of the PSAPs in the United States have upgraded as of September 1, 2005.) If interested, customers should contact their local or state elected officials to find out if the PSAP serving their town/city has updated their systems to use the wireless Enhanced 911 information or when wireless E911 service will be available in their area.Back to top
What is a GPS-capable phone, and why is it so important for Wireless Enhanced 911?
Verizon Wireless' Phase 2 E911 location technology is built into the phone's handset; GPS-capable phones rely on signals from the Federal Government's Global Positioning System satellites to help estimate their location when you make a 911 call. Verizon Wireless' handset-based location technology provides the most accurate capability over varied terrain, and is generally capable of estimating locations within 50 to 150 meters in most cases.Back to top
My phone says GPS. What does that mean? Can other people or agencies see where I am located?
Many of the phones sold by Verizon Wireless in 2002-2003 and 100% of the new handsets sold since December 31, 2003 are GPS-capable, which means there is a chipset in the phone that will help provide location information to a PSAP when a caller dials 911. The phone is not a stand-alone GPS device. The handset alone does not support or initiate any kind of individual tracking capability. The location-determining capability becomes functional after dialing 911 when the network is prompted to determine the mobiles' location.Back to top
Can I activate a phone that is not GPS-compatible?
No, because the FCC requires that carriers convert nearly all of their handsets to GPS capability, Verizon Wireless will no longer allow non-GPS-capable phones to be activated onto the network. Older phones that are not GPS-capable cannot assist in estimating their location. If a non-GPS-capable phone that is currently active is disconnected for any reason, it will not be reactivated. If you purchased your handset in 2001 or earlier, it will not be GPS-capable and you should upgrade it. Even if you bought your phone in 2002 or later, it may not be GPS-capable and if so you should upgrade it.Back to top
If you currently have a non-GPS-capable device, you can continue to use it. However, once the device has been de-activated it will not be allowed back onto the Verizon Wireless network.
What if I upgrade my non-GPS-capable phone for a GPS-capable phone and then want to activate that older phone as another line?
Because the FCC requires that carriers convert nearly all of their handsets to GPS capability, Verizon Wireless will no longer allow non-GPS-capable phones to be activated or reactivated onto the network. If you currently have a non-GPS-capable device, you can continue to use it. However, once the device has been de-activated it will not be allowed back onto the Verizon Wireless network.Back to top
What if I upgrade my non-GPS-capable phone, and then return it within the 15-day Worry Free Guarantee® period. Can I go back to my old non-GPS-capable phone?
No, because the FCC requires that carriers convert nearly all of their handsets to GPS capability, Verizon Wireless will no longer allow non-GPS phones to be activated onto the network. If you upgrade from a non-GPS-capable to a GPS-capable phone and then return it within the 15-day period Verizon Wireless will not allow the older non-GPS-capable phone back onto the network. We will however, allow you to exchange the phone for another GPS-capable device that will meet your needs.Back to top
What happens if I don't have a GPS-capable handset? Will it be turned off?
No, Verizon Wireless will not be turning off handsets that are not GPS-capable. However, because the FCC requires that carriers convert nearly all of their handsets to GPS capability, Verizon Wireless will not allow a handset to be activated on the network unless it is GPS-capable.Back to top