The operator Vivacom (“Vivacom”) did not send alarm messages to its subscribers. This was done by an external company that integrated the early warning system to the Ministry of the Interior. This is clear from an official message sent by the telecom.
Earlier this evening, the smartphones of many Bulgarians rang with an unusual sound of sirens. On the activated screen, the message “BG-ALERT: Attention danger!” could be read. Down in smaller letters and in Latin it said “test-test”.
“During tests of the automatic sending of messages from the BG-alert system to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is currently being implemented, a system integrator sent a test message to Vivacom subscribers, of which we were not notified.
We apologize for the inconvenience caused and we believe that the system contractor will take the necessary measures to avoid disturbing the population.
We will continue to work with the institutions to implement the necessary notification system, pushing for better disclosure procedures.”
Earlier, Vivacom told BTA that they were not notified in advance about the test, which was carried out “by an agency related to fire safety”. According to the company, the integrator who was supposed to do the test made a mistake by releasing the message to all subscribers.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs also confirmed that the test message was not published by the operator, but by the contractor involved in the introduction of the BG-ALERT system.
On some of the mobile devices, the top of the message read: “A signal from the president“, regarding which the presidency sent information that they “have nothing to do” with the signal:
“The presidential institution informs that it has nothing to do with the distributed messages with the inscription signal or test. The responsible institutions have been informed about the case”.
According to the Ministry of e-Government, the real test will be held on November 22 from 12 to 12:30 and will again be accompanied by a specific sound signal and vibration.
The system is being developed with European funding from the end of 2022, and its aim is to notify citizens by phone of accidents, disasters or military attacks.