Making WPS Calls
For More Information
Wireless Priority Service (WPS) is a priority calling
capability that greatly increases the probability of call completion
during a national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) event
while using their cellular phone. To make a WPS call, the user must
first have the WPS feature added to their cellular service. Once
established, the caller can dial 272
plus the destination telephone number to place an emergency wireless
WPS and its companion priority service, the Government
Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS), are requested through
a secure on-line system. Before service can be requested, participating
organizations must establish a Point of Contact (POC) account. The
GETS/WPS POC serves as each organization’s program administrator.
Once an organization has an established POC, they can request GETS
and WPS. The NCS recommends that each WPS user also have a GETS
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued
a Report and Order on July 13, 2000 allowing cellular providers
to offer wireless priority services to personnel at the Federal,
State, and local levels to help meet the NS/EP communication needs
of the Nation. This ruling established the regulatory, administrative,
and operational framework that enables cellular service providers
to provide Wireless Priority Service to NS/EP personnel.
WPS is an add-on feature subscribed on a per-cell
phone basis that works with existing cell phones in WPS enabled
cellular networks; no special phones are required. WPS provides
priority for emergency calls through a combination of special cellular
network features and the same “High Probability of Completion”
features used by GETS:
- Originating Radio Channel Priority: WPS addresses congestion
in the local radio access channel (or cell), which is often the
reason that cellular calls cannot be made during heavy calling
periods or when damage to network infrastructure occurs. WPS automatically
provides priority access to local radio channels, placing WPS
calls in queue for the next available channel if a channel is
not immediately available. Originating Radio Channel Priority
requires WPS feature activation on the calling cellular phone.
WPS calls do not preempt calls in progress nor will WPS users
monopolize all available cellular resources.
- High Probability of Completion Features: When a radio
access channel becomes available and the call proceeds, WPS calls
are assigned a unique “NS/EP” call marking by the
cellular network switching equipment. This marking triggers industry
standard High Probability of Completion (HPC) features residing
in most U.S. telecommunications networks as calls are routed from
the originating cell to the called cellular or landline phone.
These HPC features significantly increase the probability of call
completion should the call encounter network congestion or blockage
beyond the originating cell. Thus, WPS calls receive similar “across
the network” priority as GETS calls without having to dial
the GETS access number and PIN.
- Terminating Radio Channel Priority: Incoming WPS (and
GETS) calls to cell phones served by WPS enabled cellular networks
automatically receive priority access to local radio channels,
placing incoming GETS and WPS calls in queue for the next available
channel if a channel is not immediately available. Terminating
Radio Channel Priority does NOT require the called cellular phone
to be subscribed to WPS. Incoming GETS and WPS calls do not preempt
cellular calls in progress nor will they monopolize all available
(click image above for a larger view)
When an NS/EP user encounters difficulty completing
an emergency call using their cell phone, they should re-attempt
the call using WPS. To make a WPS call dial *272 + Destination Number
and push the SEND key (Example: *272 703 818 4387 + SEND).
Key Federal, State, local, and tribal government,
and critical infrastructure personnel are eligible for Wireless
Priority Service. As part of the on-line WPS Service Request, participating
organizations qualify eligibility of each WPS user based upon five
categories of WPS NS/EP criteria established by the NCS:
- Executive Leadership and Policy Makers
- Disaster Response/Military Command and Control
- Public Health, Safety and Law Enforcement Command
- Public Services/Utilities and Public Welfare
- Disaster Recovery
To ensure communications for senior leadership,
these five categories are also used to assign levels of priority
when WPS calls are placed in an originating radio channel queue.
All WPS and GETS calls have the same priority across the network
and in the terminating radio channel queue.
Service providers typically deploy WPS in stages until
service is available in most coverage areas and functionality has
reached Full Operational Capability (FOC). Select the Carriers
button on the left side menu to view WPS availability for each WPS
The POC should verify WPS availability in each user’s
operational area(s) by reviewing the Carriers
section on this site to assure coverage in the user’s primary
operational location(s). Carrier representatives cannot process
requests for WPS; all WPS service requests must be made through
The following charges may apply to Wireless Priority
- A one time WPS activation cost of no more than $10 per phone
- Monthly WPS service cost of no more than $4.50 per phone
- When WPS is invoked by dialing 272,
no more than a 75 cents per minute usage fee
Please contact your wireless service provider or select
a service provider in the Carriers section
for specific information on WPS charges. Applicable WPS charges
are billed on the existing cellular service provider invoice and
are payable directly to the cellular service provider.
WPS is requested through the on-line GETS-WPS Information
Delivery Service (G-WIDS). Before requests can be submitted each
organization needs to establish a G-WIDS Point of Contact (POC).
Most organizations have a single POC (and Alternate POC) for administering
both GETS and WPS. However, large or geographically disbursed organizations
may elect to establish separate POCs to administer GETS and WPS
for different departments and/or locations.
- If you already know your organization’s POC, please contact
them to request WPS.
- If you are not sure if your organization has a POC or who your
POC is, click on Assistance
Locating a Point of Contact (POC), type in the requested information
in the spaces provided, and click the Submit button. The Priority
Telecommunications Service Center will contact you within five
- For those organizations without a POC, they will need to establish
a POC to administer GETS and WPS.
To establish a POC:
- Select First Time Requestor (on the left side menu)
- Click the appropriate organization type in the menu and a stepwise
instruction screen will appear:
a. Follow the described steps - completing
the POC request takes less than 15 minutes.
b. As part of the POC requests process,
the POC orders GETS or GETS and WPS for themselves.
Select the desired option in Request Option field on the upper
left side of the POC
c. The POC will receive their G-WIDS User
ID and password in 5 to 7 days; their GETS card
will be sent
U.S. Mail within 10 days. They will receive email notification
of service activation
if WPS is requested.
- After submitting the POC Request the POC may Logoff or select
Next Transaction. Selecting Next Transaction brings up the Alternate
POC Request screen. Complete this screen to establish an Alternate
POC and request GETS or GETS and WPS for the Alternate POC. To
bypass this step click the Establish Alternate POC Later Box in
the upper left corner of the Alternate POC Request and then click
the Submit bar at the bottom of the screen.
- After submitting the Alternate POC Request Form the POC may
Logoff or select Next Transaction:
a. To make immediate GETS and WPS services
requests select Next Transaction and the Service
Request screen will appear. Select the desired services in Request
Option field on the
upper left side of the screen and complete the Service Request.
b. After logging off the POC will not
be able to request services until they receive their User ID and
Once an organization has an established POC they can
request GETS and/or WPS. To do so the POC selects Established POC
on the left side menu of the GETS or WPS website, logs into G-WIDS
with their User ID and password, and requests GETS and/or WPS by
completing an on-line GETS/WPS service request. Upon NCS approval
and activation by the cellular service provider, an email is sent
to the POC and user advising that WPS has been activated. For GETS,
cards and user instructions are mailed to the POC for distribution.
For More Information
Additional information on Wireless Priority Service
can be viewed by selecting the buttons on the left-side menu:
- Home: return to WPS Home Page
- Program Info: section you are currently viewing
- Eligibility: view full text of the five NCS
WPS eligibility criteria
- Carriers: provides WPS information applicable
to each WPS service provider
- Cost: describes costs associated with WPS
- Using WPS: provides instructions for using
- First Time Requestor: select this button and
click on the appropriate organization type to view stepwise instructions
for establishing a GETS/WPS Point of Contact.
- Established POC: click to access G-WIDS once
POC or Alternate POC is established (GETS IC WEB SITE –
LOGIN PAGE, requires User ID and password to login)
- Documents: click to view listing of WPS documents
and videos available for download
- FAQ: click to view WPS Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Us: click to view NCS contact information
or send an email to the NCS
- NCS Website: click to view NCS Home Page.
Select Services in the left side menu to view all NCS Services
For assistance and information on all NCS Priority
Telecommunications programs contact the Priority Telecommunications
Service Center toll free at 866-627-2255 (DC metro area, please
use 703-760-2255) or firstname.lastname@example.org
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