UCI Cellular Services

Cell phone

Cell phones are a significant component of work life at UCI, whether for reaching people away from the office, connecting to the Web and email with a smartphone, or receiving critical notifications (zotAlert) in the event of a campus emergency.

OIT works with many cellular providers to continuously improve coverage at UCI, as well as to make discounted services available to employees. A summary of providers with a presence at UCI (AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless) as well as cell site locations can be found online.  Recently, for example, a new AT&T site was installed on Engineering Tower, significantly improving coverage for AT&T subscribers.

OIT is also researching new technologies in the field of cellular telephony.  One promising new technology is the “Distributed Antenna System” (DAS) whereby numerous small, easily-installed antennas communicate through fiber optic cable to a coordination site which connects to the cellular carriers.  This makes cellular coverage more like Wireless Internet (WiFi) in its flexibility and capacity.

We are always happy to hear from cell users on campus about their experiences so that we can prioritize proposals from cellular carriers for improving coverage at UCI.

zotALERT Update

The UC Irvine text-message emergency notification system (“zotALERT”) has been in place for over 1 year now.  zotALERT is intended to be one component of a comprehensive campus emergency communication system.  Faculty and staff who have not already signed up can find instructions for doing so at the zotALERT web site.



UCI conducted a campus-wide test on June 6th.  The test notice was sent to 12,500 individuals (9,100 students and 3,400 faculty/staff) who had enrolled.  NACS set up a web site so recipients could report on the test.  Almost half of the recipients reported in. 96% of them received the test message, and the majority received it within 10 minutes.

The June test was noteworthy as it went out through our new zotALERT vendor, MIR3.  MIR3 provides a robust notification system that serves many higher education institutions such as UC San Diego, many Fortune 500 companies, and numerous federal, state, and local government agencies.

NACS works with MIR3 to assess all delivery failures.  In many cases, recipients do not receive the zotALERT messages due to submitting an incorrect phone number, or in some instances the recipient has signed up using a phone that doesn’t allow or support text messaging.

The MIR3 system offers multiple methods of notification.  NACS, along with the UCI Police Department and Environmental Health and Safety, are investigating the use of additional functionality.  Such options include mass emailing, prerecorded out-call voice messaging, and automated polling.