Is The Good Old Pager Coming Down To Its Final Beeps?

from the out-to-pasture dept

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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  1. identicon
    Kevin, 27 Dec 2006 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Pagers are more reliable

    We used to have "pager duty" rotation in my group, then about six years ago we switched to a 2-way pager because the monthly fee was cheaper, and you could send a simple response message back to the sender to ACK new requests or let them know you are an hour from the nearest PC and they'd better call somebody else.

    Then about a year ago we replaced the pager with a blackberry. Same idea, but you can compose more detailed responses (like "It does this all the time, just hit reboot and then call me if it doesn't come back up").

    Drawback is that the blackberry is MUCH less reliable than the 2-way pager. Coverage for GPRS service is not nearly as good, lots of dead zones that never bothered the pager.

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