Terrified phone users get emergency alert at 1am as thousands say they STILL haven't received 'urgent' test message

Severe alert warning is sent to phones across the UK

The Government's first emergency alert test didn't go entirely to plan

Paige Creaney

By Paige Creaney

Published: 24/04/2023

- 17:00

The alert was intended to reach people's phones at 3pm on Sunday April 23

The Government’s first emergency alert test has been criticised after some mobile users have claimed they were sent the loud alert in the middle of the night.

The alert was intended to reach people’s phones at 3pm on Sunday, however some said they received it a minute earlier, others half an hour late, and many said they didn't get sent it at all.

Some people even went as far to say they were sent the emergency alert during the early hours of Monday morning, with one taking to Twitter to say: “That scared the sh*t out of me.”

Others also reported that they received the alert on Monday morning for the second time, having also been sent it on Sunday afternoon as planned.

Sports fans at the DW stadium

Fans at the DW stadium check their phones as the UK-wide emergency alert system shows on their lock screen


One user wrote: “Just had another severe emergency alert on my phone? 8:15 am Monday 24 April. #severeemergencyalert #Alert.”

Amongst the mobile phone users who said they did not receive any alert at all were those on the Three Mobile network, which is one of the biggest networks in the UK.

Following users’ concerns over the missing alert, the company issued a statement: “We're aware that a number of customers have not received the test alert.

“We're working closely with the government to understand why and ensure it doesn't happen when the system is in use.”

The Government explained that the exact timings of the alerts depended on operators' networks, which all have different speeds.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson acknowledged that the alert did not reach some mobile phones, adding it "will be looking at this as part of our review of the test".

The department also said engineers had spotted a trend of phone functions failing to work afterwards, adding that officials were in the early stages of analysing the results of the trial run.

The Government had also previously advised that those with 2G or 3G devices would not get the alert, along with phones that were off or in aeroplane mode.

Severe alert sent by the government

The test alert emitted a loud alarm to phone users


People were further advised to ensure their phones had all the latest software updates, including iPhones running iOS 14.5 or later and Android phones and tablets running Android 11 or later.

In Wales, the alert included a translation error as the words "others safe" appeared in the message as "eraill yn Vogel" rather than "eraill yn ddiogel" in Welsh.

While the message was intended to be used in emergencies in the future, some took to social media to poke fun at people who were surprised to see the alert flash up and hear the siren sounding on their phone.

Love Island star Jessie Wynter posted a video on TikTok of fellow contestant Will Young appearing perplexed and asking friends, "what does that mean?"

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