Two Way Pagers

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Two-way pagers are so called because they can not only display a message, but allow the recipient to send a reply as well. Two-way paging is mainly offered in large metropolitan areas.

These pagers use the Personal Communications Services (PCS) band, which relies upon low-power signals that are picked up by many small signal towers within a given area. Even a small pager is capable of containing all the necessary PCS technology to receive and send messages. Two-way narrowband pagers enable users to reply to the alphanumeric message directly from the paging unit, and offer guaranteed delivery.

A two-way pager, in some cases, can serve as an alternative to a mobile phone. Paging Network, a pager manufacturing company, lets you record a message and have an answering service on the machine. Big companies such as Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, MobileMedia Corporation, Motorola, AirTouch Communications, Casio Computer, Mobile Telecommunication Technologies (Mtel), and Sharp either manufacture two-pagers or offer a two-way paging service.

Apart from sending and receiving pages, two-way pagers can handle e-mail and brief voice messages in both directions.

Prices of these tiny devices manufactured by companies like Motorola, Glenayre and Research in Motion range from $200 to $400. Many vendors, however, are now putting emphasis on rent-to-own programs to eliminate this up-front expense and attract more customers.

Carriers like SkyTel, PageMart, PageNet and Bell South Wireless Data charge $25 to $100 every month for two-way service provided by them. The actual rate depends on the volume of characters a user sends and receives.

Two-way paging offers the same convenience as email does. A user can receive a message in the middle of a meeting, and reply immediately without the distraction of using a cellular phone.

Two-way pager manufacturers now hope to rope in third-party software developers to create add-on services and transform these pagers into something like a cross between a laptop and a personal organizer.

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