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
    Shane C, 28 Dec 2006 @ 12:07am

    Pager systems will be lost to attrition.

    I work in a building that houses classified material. When people are in the classified areas, two-way wireless communication (i.e. a cell phone) is prohibited. We rely on pagers to fill that gap, in our communication line.

    Prior to this job, I worked for a major hospital. Because the paging services couldn’t guarantee timely delivery, and couldn’t provide logs, they invested in their own pager network. One central signal, and three repeaters cover most of the hills, and valleys in the region.

    On the flip side…

    As the number of pagers in use continues to diminish, it’s a natural presumption that pager networks will start to shutdown from simple attrition. It’s not cost effective to upkeep maintenance on the local repeater, and telephone network, not to mention taking up valuable space on the antenna mast.

    I think we’ll see is a new form of pager emerging in the next few years. The pager will basically be a stripped down, one-way cell phone, for all intents, and purposes. This will enable them to run off a combination of analog, and digital networks. There is a fair amount of analog cellular signals available in most populous areas, that aren’t being used heavily because the digital counterparts are more effective.

    The reason I’m leaning towards analog cellular signals being in the mix is that they tend to pass deeper into heavy construction, versus the digital signals.

    Shane

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