It's been nearly five years since we reported that some people were still clinging tightly to their pagers, despite their obsolescence in many ways thanks to the mobile phone. Few companies still actually make the devices, and with so few users -- just 7.4 million nationwide -- once-thriving pager-repair businesses are now dwindling as well. That's hardly surprising; what is a little, though, is that pagers have continued to hang on. Their real strength is in the medical market, where doctors and hospitals still rely on them because they more reliably penetrate buildings, and they can be used in areas where cell phones are banned due to concerns they'll interfere with medical equipment (or interfere with hospitals' revenue from high-price in-room telephones for patients). But the days of the venerable pager look numbered: hospitals' attitudes about cell phone use are starting to shift, while many are installing WiFi-based systems that offer far greater functionality than simple paging.
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