UPDATED: Norwegian civil defense officials, scrambling to improve preparedness, warned that many mobile phones all over the country would start to vibrate and emit a high-pitched alarm at midday on Wednesday. They were testing a new system for spreading emergency alerts from the police, but results are mixed.
Norwegian phones produced in recent years (for example, iPhone 8 and Android 11 or newer) were supposed to wail sometime between 11:55am and 12:10pm. They were also expected to portray a message, both in Norwegian and English, that authorities had important information for them.
By late afternoon only around half the population seemed to have received the message. Some got it only in one language, resported state broadcaster NRK, others got the message but not the sound effects. Authorities nationwide also tested other various civil defense warning systems, and in Oslo they sounded for around 10 minutes.
It’s all meant to boost preparedness for any real danger, part of efforts to improve defense systems after Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Government officials stressed that the new warning system via mobile telephones isn’t based on access to telephone numbers or any other personal information, but is rather simply picked up by modern phones present in a specific geographic area.