Verified FirstNet subscriber paid users can now sign up for service at any of 5300 AT&T locations nationwide. FirstNet subscriber paid users must be verified first responders, AT&T said.

FirstNet is the nationwide mobile broadband public safety network that AT&T is building nationwide. While some local agencies are purchasing FirstNet plans and devices for their users, some first responders are responsible for purchasing their plans and devices as personal accounts.

According to an AT&T press release, about 800,000 U.S. firefighters – approximately 70% of the total — are volunteer.

FirstNet Subscriber Paid Users
AT&T is the exclusive provider of FirstNet service nationwide and is in the process of building the FirstNet mobile broadband network, funded in part, through government support. That network includes both a nationwide, largely wireline, core network dedicated to public safety as well as local LTE radio access networks (RANs) that use dedicated spectrum.

Where AT&T has not yet built out the RAN, the company is allowing first responders to have priority connectivity on its existing wireless network. (It’s also worth noting that non-first responder AT&T customers will be able to use the FirstNet spectrum when it is not in use by public safety but will not have access to the FirstNet core network.)

The core network is designed to enable a range of capabilities specifically for first responders such as additional priority levels and an incident management portal. Future capabilities will include z-Axis location-based services, which can help pinpoint individual floors within a building, as well as something AT&T calls “mission-critical Push-to-Talk,” AT&T told Telecompetitor in April.

To sign up for a FirstNet subscriber paid account, first responders’ eligibility must be confirmed through an online portal designed for that purpose. Qualified first responder agencies enter into an agreement with AT&T that enables them to verify individual first responders who are eligible for the subscriber paid user offer. Verified first responders receive an activation code that can be presented in store to sign up, AT&T explained in today’s press release.

In the press release, AT&T Senior Vice President of FirstNet, said the FirstNet network gives first responders “access to tools they’ve never had before – tools that can transform their emergency response. And now, no matter where they live or work, first responders can easily subscribe to their network. This means public safety nationwide will no longer be limited by outdated or unreliable communications capabilities.”