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E911 FAQs

  1. 1) What is E911?

    Wireless Enhanced 911 (E911) seeks to improve the effectiveness and reliability of wireless 911 services by providing emergency dispatchers with additional information on wireless 911 calls.

    The wireless E911 program is divided into two phases.
    Phase I requires wireless carriers, upon valid request by a local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), to report the telephone number of a wireless 911 caller and the location of the antenna that received the call.
    Phase II requires wireless carriers to provide far more precise location information, within 50 to 300 meters in most cases.

    The deployment of E911 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local 911 PSAPs, as well as coordination among public safety agencies, wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers and local wireline carriers.

  2. 2) How does E911 work?

    Phase II E911 only works where the PSAPs have upgraded their equipment and systems to be able to use the data provided by the wireless carrier. For carriers like U.S. Cellular, the location technology, Global Positioning System (GPS), is built into the wireless phone. E911 Ready phones rely on signals from the federal government's GPS satellites to help estimate the location of a 911 caller and determine where to send emergency services.

  3. 3) How can I find out if my local PSAP has upgraded their technology to allow for E911 location services?

    In order to obtain information about your specific local area preparedness on E911 location services, please contact your state's E911 coordinator.

  4. 4) How do I know if my phone is E911 Ready?

    All phones sold through U.S. Cellular after October 2004 are E911 Ready.

  5. 5) What if my phone is not E911 Ready?

    If you do not have an E911 Ready phone, please call 1-800-455-7511 or visit your nearest retail or agent location to upgrade your phone. Aside from the E911 location service, customers may experience the many benefits of using an E911 Ready phone such as fewer blocked calls, better call quality, a longer battery life and improved privacy features to prevent cloning.

  6. 6) When I upgrade my phone, will I be able to change back to my old phone?

    Once you upgrade to an E911 Ready phone, you will not be able to change back to your non-E911 phone. If you are not satisfied with your phone, our 15-Day Guarantee allows you to try a different phone.

  7. 7) If I upgrade my phone, what will happen to all the numbers I currently have stored in my phone?

    Switching your phone numbers over to another phone can be a hassle, but our My Contacts Backup service makes this process easy. Learn more about My Contacts Backup

  8. 8) Will my service be affected if I do not upgrade to an E911 Ready phone?

    No, your service will remain as it is today. However, as mentioned above there are many benefits to using an E911 Ready phone.