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Wireless Priority Service (WPS)

What is WPS? WPS is an Federal program that authorizes cellular communications service providers to prioritize calls over wireless networks. Participation in the WPS program is voluntary. Participating service providers typically deploy WPS in stages until service is available in most coverage areas and functionality has reached full operating capability.

Authorized users dial *272 on a WPS enabled device to receive calling queue priority. WPS calls do not preempt calls in progress, but provide priority status over cellular communications networks. [To get priority status over the wireline communications network, you need to use the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS). WPS and GETS can be used in combination program in combination with WPS.]

The FCC sets the rules and policies for the WPS program; the National Communications System, a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, manages the WPS program. The WPS program is in effect all the time--it is not contingent on a major disaster or attack taking place.

WPS is widely available from Alltel, AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless), Cellular South, Edge Wireless, SouthernLINC, Sprint Nextel, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

Who Should Enroll? You should enroll if your organization is a Federal, state, tribal, and local police department, fire department, public safety answering point or 9-1-1 call center, EMS entity, essential healthcare provider or any other organization that uses telecommunication services necessary for the public health, safety, and maintenance of law and order.

Why should I get WPS? If you rely on cellular communications services on a daily basis to perform critical national security and emergency preparedness functions, including those areas related to safety, maintenance of law and order, and public health, you need WPS. By dialing *272 on your WPS enabled device, your call receives a calling queue priority over regular calls, thereby greatly increasing the probability (90%) that your cellular call will get through the network, even with congestion.

This program can be extremely beneficial during a major disaster or attack in which the telecommunications infrastructure is damaged and the lives and property of the American public is most at risk.

How do I enroll? By filling out an online application and a point of contact for your organization. In your application, you will need to certify that your mission meets national security and emergency preparedness requirements as set forth in the WPS program information. If your organization qualifies, the WPS Program Office will contact your cellular communications service provider and complete the process. WPS is an added feature to your phone; the software changes necessary are handled by the WPS Program Office. You do not need to do anything with your phone or take it to your cellular communications service provider.

What does it cost? A one-time activation fee of $10, along with a monthly fee of $4.50, and charges of 75 cents per minute apply to WPS.

Who do I contact for help?

National Communications System--WPS Operations and Administrative Support
Telephone: 703-760-CALL (-2255) (Washington D.C. Metro Area), Select Option "2" or 866-NCS-CALL (866-627-2255) Toll Free, Select Option "2"
Telephone (24/7): 703.607.4950 FAX: Fax: 703-848-0299 Washington, DC Metro Area or 888-862-4222 Toll-free

Email: wps@ncs.gov
Website: wps.ncs.gov

Federal Communications Commission--WPS Contacts







last reviewed/updated May 14, 2015

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