Pagers have not been a thing in most parts of the world for a couple of decades now. After the first mobile phones were invented and became extremely popular, pagers slowly began to phase out. These days, it’s hard to find anyone who uses one whatsoever. But in other countries such as Japan, the death of pagers has been much slower.
As reported by Engadget, Japan is set to make pagers obsolete once and for all. Known also as “poke-beru” or “pocket ball” throughout the country, their lone service provider, Tokyo Telemessage, is going to end their service for good. This is set to take place by September 2019, and will affect roughly 1,500 Japanese people who still use pagers.
Throughout Japan, service for pagers was limited to Tokyo and many of its neighboring regions. During the five decades after pagers came out, they became most popular by 1996 — with over 10 million units reportedly used across the country. But like with other countries, pagers became a thing of the past due to the invention of mobile phones. The telecommunications company who introduced pagers in Japan initially, NTT, discontinued their pager services back in 2007. Why it took over a decade after that for Tokyo Telemessage to follow suit remains to be seen.
This may seem quite odd for those of us in Western countries- the idea of pagers sticking around for so long despite being obsolete for years. But as it turns out, Japan has a habit of desperately clinging onto old technology despite new advances overtaking them. For example, many people still take up faxing as a way to communicate with each other, and those living in the country can purchase cassette tapes at many convenience stores.
So it seems as though pagers have truly died once and for all. For the 1500 or so Japanese citizens that still utilize them for one reason or another, they will no doubt be disappointed by this. Although to be fair, it shouldn’t be surprising that this is happening. After all, Tokyo Telemessage had ceased building pagers some 20 years ago- they were going to stop their pager services sooner than later. People will just have to accept that this is the end of an era.
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