Paging is passe, but not EasyCall

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Landline and voice communication did not instantly progressed to mobile telephony and short messaging service. There was a short lived transition period in the early 1990s which was called paging.


Paging is the sending of text messages to the pre-mobile pho8ne device called pager, which is a bit smaller and thinner than a GoPro camera. The device has a clip for attaching to a belt. It has no keypad, just a screen and a few buttons for control. The device makes a beep sound, so another term for it was beeper, or vibrates to alert users of a text message.

The message is transmitted through a call center, where transcriptionists or transcribers type the message as dictated by a caller who wants to send a message to a pager subscriber.

The pager was the in thing technology at the time and it was popular for businessmen and yuppies. There were two paging companies that competed for subscribers: Pocketbell and EasyCall. These firms were the predecessors of the call centers.

When the mobile phone entered the picture by the mid-1990s, consumers switched to Nokias, Motorolas and Philips handsets. In a matter of year, no one wanted a pager anymore and paging services collapsed.

EasyCall, Pocketbell, pager, beeper were never heard of again. But somehow, the former managed to make a comeback, this time in the field of Internet service using satellite technology. Early this month, EasyCall announced it will put up more VSATs or very small aperture terminal to provide Internet service in far-flung areas.

It is notable that the firm that once served urban denizens with paging is now serving an unlikely customers in the persons of rural folks. It seems an unviable venture but certainly an amiable service for catering yo the unserved or underserved communities in the mountains and forests.

EasyCall is actually competing with several VSAT-using Internet service providers, including the two major telcos. But hopefully, it would easily establish a huge customer base in the countryside, where access to Internet is still lacking.