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Japan's last pager service is closing down next year

By midian182 · 4 replies
Dec 4, 2018
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  1. Pagers were developed in the 50s and 60s but became widely popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The radio devices could receive and, in the case of two-way pagers, send messages via radio waves. In 1996, 10 million units were being used in Japan as "poke-beru" or "pocket bell,” as they’re known over there, reached peak popularity.

    Like so many industries, pagers were slowly killed off by the rise of mobile phones. But while NTT, the telecom firm whose predecessor introduced pagers to Japan 50 years ago, shuttered its services over a decade ago, Tokyo Telemessage has kept on going. It says that 1500 customers still subscribe to its service, many of whom are hospital workers—the devices are suitable in these environments because they don’t emit electromagnetic waves.

    Japanese pager users have until September 2019 before their ancient technology stops working, which Tokyo Telemessage says is due to a lack of demand.

    In a country where more than 20 percent of the population is over 65, it’s easy to find older technology. Fax machines also remain popular, much like in certain sectors of the UK, where 9000 are used within the national health service.

    Despite still using archaic devices, Japan remains well-known for embracing modern technology, though don’t ask its minister of cybersecurity about computers—he recently said that he’s never used one.

    Image credit: shutterstock / AFS

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,150   +3,574

    Yes, it was once the major ID for every doctor or "on call" professional to have .....
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,624   +2,363

    What I miss the most about the tech of the previous two decades is the solid, practical design. Physical controls were usually much easier to deal with than touchscreens and the emphasis was on function over form. The 2010's heralded the death of usability, productivity and privacy.
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,367   +2,884

    And those funny commercials...

    madboyv1 likes this.
  5. mctommy

    mctommy TS Addict Posts: 293   +67

    What are all the doctors going to do????

    Perfect opportunity for apple to market the replacement of pagers with Apple Watches Series 4!

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