AT&T introduces 'free smartphone for life' program with some agency-paid FirstNet subscriptions – Urgent Communications

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Public-safety agencies subscribing to FirstNet on certain two-year contracts will be able to provide their users with FirstNet Ready smartphones for free and upgrade them at no cost “for life,” as long as the agency-paid FirstNet subscription is maintained, AT&T announced today.

“First responders deserve a dedicated communications partner that can provide the tools they need, when they need them, and that’s exactly what they’re getting with FirstNet,” Jason Porter, AT&T’s senior vice president for the FirstNet Program, said in a prepared statement. “We are here working side-by-side with public safety and together we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations, as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.

“Now, agencies spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations can stay up-to-date with smartphones for life at no additional cost and know their responders’ devices are up to the task when the next emergency strikes.”

To be eligible for the “free smartphones for life” offer from AT&T, public-safety agencies must subscribe to a new FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited for Smartphone line or an eligible upgrade on a two-year service agreement or AT&T installment 30-month agreement, according to an AT&T release. Offer details are available at www.firstnet.com/agencyoffers.

Technically, smartphones provided under the offer are not free initially, according to a footnote in the AT&T press release. The agency will be charged $0.99 for the smartphone at the time of purchase, but this amount will be credited back to the agency within three billing cycles, the press release states.

AT&T’s press release states that “premium” FirstNet Ready smartphone devices can be acquired through the “free smartphone for life” program. However, the new Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro that supports the new FirstNet PTT service is not eligible under the “free smartphone for life” program announced today, an AT&T spokesperson confirmed to IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

Initially, the eligible phones are: the iPhone XR 64GB, LG V35 ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy S9, LG Stylo 5+, LG Stylo 4+, Samsung Galaxy A10e, Samsung Galaxy J3 2018, LG K40, and the LG Prime 2. AT&T notes that this device list is subject to change in the future.

While the “free smartphone for life” offer is available only with agency-paid FirstNet subscriptions, individual first responders paying for their own subscription can receive a $200 activation credit “when activating a new FirstNet Ready smartphone on a new FirstNet First Mobile-Responder plan,” according to the AT&T press release. More information about the offer is available at www.firstnet.com/firstnetresponder and at https://www.firstnet.com/content/dam/firstnet/marketing/save200.pdf.

In addition to the new smartphone offers, AT&T today announced that it has renamed its Local Control web portal as FirstNet Central, which will include new mapping capabilities that are designed to help FirstNet subscribers’ efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now, public-safety administrators have easy access to the interactive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) dashboard created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University,” the AT&T press release states. “Agencies can view confirmed cases in relation to their jurisdiction and couple this insight with the FirstNet Esri-embedded network status map—that now includes hospital and trauma levels—for better situational awareness.”

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