Verify: Can you use Zello, the walkie-talkie app, without cell service?

QUESTION:

During an emergency like Hurricane Irma, can you use the Zello app for communication, even without cell service?

ANSWER:

No, we can verify this claim is false.

SOURCES:

Zello app

PROCESS:

Following Hurricane Harvey and now Irma, we want you to have the facts about the best communication devices out there for disasters.

The Austin-based push-to-talk app Zello proved to be reliable in Houston flood rescue efforts. They gained a whopping 600,000 followers in just one day and became the most downloaded app in iTunes over the last week.

The Cajun Navy volunteers from Louisiana even set up a channel so they could coordinate during Hurricane Harvey.

With Irma on the forefront this week, people are spreading the word about Zello, which has led to some people claiming it can function without any cell phone or internet coverage.

WUSA9 Verify researchers reached out to Zello and the company itself has confirmed the information is not true, stating if there is no WiFi and no cellular data of at least 2G, Zello won't work.

They’re even asking for retweets so the “massive misinformation” does not continue to spread to Irma flood victims in Puerto Rico.

The walkie-talkie app might be good to have if cell phone networks are overwhelmed, but you still need cell service.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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