Over the weekend, I wanted to take a closer look at the 3GPP Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System (ETWS) for GSM, UTMS and LTE. I was expecting to find proper stage 1, 2 and 3 documents in place by now so implementations could follow soon. It turns that of the three documents, only stage 1 (3GPP TS 22.168) has made it so far into Release 8. However, it seems that the specification might have been withdrawn at SP-43 in Biarritz in March 2009.
The same applies for the stage 2 documentation 3GPP TS 23.168, it's current state is "withdrawn". There is a pointer to Technical Report (not a specification!) TR 23.828 which gives an overview of the different options analyzed and the proposal at the end to go for solution 5. Solution 5 would be to send a first warning to the mobiles via a special paging message with further details right afterwards in a cell broadcast message. For GSM mobiles already engaged in a voice call, the BTS would create a special SMS and sent it over the slow associated signaling channel while the call is in progress. In UMTS, paging messages can also be received during a call. What's not mentioned is how mobiles currently having a GPRS TBF established would receive the notification as there is no associated circuit switched signaling channel and pagings would not be received over the paging channel. But for the moment, that is beside the pont, since both stage 1 and stage 2 of the specification was withdrawn.
However, there is a link to 3GPP TS 22.268, a stage 1 specification for a much more generalized public warning system (PWS). No stage 2 specification exists so far, so this one is also at the beginning. It's an interesting document as it shows how much time there is to warn the public about an earthquake or a tsunami. Very challenging!
I am a bit puzzled!? Looks like ETWS was already quite well on it's way but now seems to be suddenly stopped? Did it fall short of the requirements? If you know more, please leave a comment below.