AT&T continues to expand FirstNet’s retail presence, with the launch of a new dealer program aimed at expanding the distribution channels and increase adoption among public safety users.
The move follows on recent news that AT&T has made FirstNet products available through about 5,300 AT&T retail locations. Verified first responders can sign up for service in-store or online, AT&T said. FirstNet has both agency-paid and subscriber-paid service options, depending on who is paying for the subscription.
On the dealer front, AT&T said that only some dealers and providers through its AT&T Alliance Channel will be able to sell FirstNet devices and services. AT&T said that it “carefully selected solution providers and dealers with deep knowledge of public safety” and that in coordination with the First Responders Network Authority, it “strictly regulates which indirect sellers can promote, market and co-sell FirstNet. We chose those indirect sellers that focus on mobility solutions for public safety agencies. And we will continue to evaluate additional potential FirstNet dealers.
“There are agencies that want to access the power of FirstNet but prefer to buy services through a dealer. So, we crafted the FirstNet Dealer Program with them in mind,” AT&T said in announcing the dealer initiative.
AT&T and FirstNet recently said that they now have more than 1,000 public safety agencies in 52 states and territories which are operating as FirstNet subscribers, and that the network’s adoption has nearly doubled since April. Those customers include 11 state patrol agencies, as well as an unspecified number of federal agencies, tribal public safety agencies, volunteer firefighters and responders, and school districts — which can “use the service to communicate and coordinate with public safety during times of crisis,” according to AT&T.
FirstNet allows usage of the network by public safety personnel in law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical services and emergency management and public safety communications, and considers all such users to be “primary users.” The AT&T-FirstNet offering is also intended to support “extended primary users” who are involved broadly with disaster and emergency response, such as school districts (whose buildings often serve as emergency shelters). FirstNet defines extended primary users as entities or individuals “who may be called upon to support public safety personnel with the mitigation, remediation, overhaul, clean-up, restoration, or other such services that are required during the time of incident or post-incident.” – RCR Wireless