Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pagers, Beepers From Not Too Long Ago

Do you still remember this mobile fashion accessory from the past? This thingy was clamped on the belt or pocket of professionals, doctors, politicians, celebrities and college students to keep them wirelessly informed of whoever wants to contact them.

IMG_0161

Let's take one last look at these old beepers or pagers from the nineties. The popular brands in the Philippines were EasyCall and PocketBell.

IMG_0149

Do you remember calling the pager number of someone you need to contact then being answered personally by an operator asking you what message you want to tell someone? With a perfect stranger jotting down your message so that it can be sent to the pager of someone you know, it was awkward sending corny love messages or private stuffs to them. Replying is also not possible. You have to pick up a land-line phone and call the your friend's pager or land-line phone.

IMG_0132

Let's energize two old Motorola pagers using one AAA battery each.

IMG_0122

Turning on the pagers in the year 2008 greets you with the same loud beep-beep-beep as the pagers wake up from its long slumber. After setting the time and date, here is how the display looks like. Some dots of the LCD display are already dead. But aside from that, all functions are OK including the vibrating alert. But any old messages it kept before were now lost.

IMG_0147

February 2008: No signal

No Sig

Easycall started its paging service in the Philippines in 1988 and reached its peak in the nineties and had 250,000 subscribers by the end of 1995 with coverage reaching all of Manila and its neighboring provinces, Baguio, La Union, Pangasinan, Bataan, Pampanga, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, General Santos and Davao.

The later part of the nineties turned gray for pagers as the popularity of a new technology called mobile cellular telephony grew steadily in the Philippines. I still remember the old TV Commercial of Globe Telecoms where two speech-disabled lovers were finally able to "talk" to each other using a Globe Handyphone with text messaging capability - a task previously difficult for speech-disabled person using ordinary phones that were only for voice calls. SMS or text messaging also eliminated the "third party stranger" in the message loop thus liberating all of us to send privately anything we want, no matter how corny or how personal it was. My first GSM cellphone was the Nokia 100 with a SIM card the size of a credit card or ATM card and I loved it.

The pager survived crossing the year 2000 but it was already on its decline. Today, nationwide paging using beepers or pagers is dead in the Philippines. These old pagers can only be used as fancy alarm clocks and time keepers from the past but cellular phones and smartphones like the Nokia 6120c are now the king of mobile messaging and much more.

IMG_0125

There are still countries where nationwide paging is available. But most of the time, they are used as local paging systems inside hospitals and factories where there is a need to be wirelessly connected but avoid the interference generated by cellular phones to sensitive equipment.
EasyCall Philippines is still existing though they moved on to other services and there are no more beep-beep-beep for the common Pinoy.

4 comments:

PROJECT DUALTECH said...

Cool site! Really informative... and nostalgic! I remember the time when i was still in grade school, my filthy rich classmates can never let go of their colorful beepers! hahahahaha! Those were the days!

Link ex? :D

Jescel said...

I do remember the Easy Call, I was one of the pioneers of Easy Call Cebu message handlers.. that was real big before..Good ol'times...

FerBert said...

hahahaha.. I had a sister who has this thingy (i.e BEEPER) on her belt/whatever that is back in the 90's.. I envied her but then when i turned 10 i got my first ever glow in the dark beeper after a year nalaos na sya.. hahahaha

Ralph Roi Romano said...

Hi this is RR Romano of I-Juander GMA NewsTV, we are currently working on the story about throwbacks, gadgets, things, fashion on the past decades. how can i possibly contact the author/blogger of the article "Pagers, Beepers From Not Too Long Ago" we need some people who still have pagers beepers or old cellphones. please. heres my email address, ralphroiromano@gmail.com. thanks,