Communicating with Telephones and Pagers

Telephones and pagers used to go hand in hand before the 1990s’ emergence of the cellular telephone. However, because of the limited functionality of pagers, it became obsolete and was gradually replaced by the now well-enhanced type of phone popularly known as cell phones.

The most visible form of communications before the advent of electronic mail, text messaging and cell phones, are the standard telephone and pager. A pager accepts one-way numeric messages and the user calls up the number sent by utilizing a telephone. Pagers advanced to alphanumeric two-way messaging, where a user this time can send e-mail or SMS (Short Message System) messages and also receive the same.

1. Present users of pagers

When cell phones took over in the 1990s, pagers or beepers became obsolete and are now only marketed for use by people involved in the:

Emergency service personnel – where personnel are needed to be called to emergencies;

Medical professions – cellular transmitters interfere with sensitive medical equipment so pagers are used to ensure quick and accurate response to patients’ needs; and

Information technology sectors – in cases of network outages and cellular phones do not work.

In restaurants – it is used mostly when there is a long line of people waiting. A diner is alerted by a beeping sound a little electronic device handed out by the hostess makes to signal that the diner’s table is ready. Restaurant pagers are connected to the telephone system of the restaurants. A master transmitter is used where the numeric code of the pager is entered to page the diners.

2. Types of pagers

  • Beeper – this is the simplest type of pager and it got its name from the sound alert it makes. This is the category where most restaurant pagers fall.
  • Voice/Tone – this kind of pager alerts a subscriber by recorded voice message.
  • Numeric – this pager has the ability to send numbers to the recipient. It also has an alert. This is where callers send a paging service a numeric code which is then sent to a paging terminal via radio waves and then the pager subscriber is alerted.
  • Alphanumeric – can send text messages when a subscriber gets the alert. Text messages are sent via a carrier who transcribes the message to be sent to a pager owner or by a modem or by a dedicated alpha entry terminal.
  • Two-way pagers – have the ability to send and receive e-mails and text messages. Largely use din metropolitan areas. Uses the PCS (Personal Communications Services) band that relies on low-powered signal.

3. Buying a pager

Some pointer a subscriber needs to know when shopping for the right pager:

Method of alert – there are several types of alerts that pagers have but normally alerts can be heard or be placed in a vibrating mode so as not to sound very noisy or obtrusive.

Memory – should be expanded to allow at least enough storage for messages and numbers.

Time and date – are important because it tells the pager owner when a page was sent.

Voice mail – some pagers have plans that include voice mails. Depending on the plan users can receive voice mails and a pager notification that a message was sent.

Information updates – gives subscribers updates on sports, weather, news, traffic, stock quotes, and the like.

Coverage – depending on the plan and the amount of coverage the subscriber needs, it could range from local, regional or national.

Pricing- depending on the expanse of coverage, and other features, pagers can range from $10 - $150 per month. Coverage will definitely affect the cost. And because there is only a small market for pagers ever since the arrival and dominance of cellular phones, dealers sometimes waive activation fees.

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