Gauging Paging

The latest in paging services.

With cell-phones getting smaller, pagers are feeling the pinch. To keep up, paging services are offering an increasing number of features. Prices will vary widely depending on where you live. Of the three profiled here, PageMart is one of many mid-sized services, PageNet is the largest, SkyTel is the most advanced.

Provider Coverage Extras Cost
Average. Nationwide coverage in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands. Major Canadian cities covered. Weak. Services include voice mail ($3 to $8 additional per month) and a personal 800-number (with alphanumeric service). Unlike SkyTel, PageMart has not yet offered two-way paging; also, it does not include a news service — although plans are under way to feature Dow Jones updates later this year. Average. Local alphanumeric service is $27.95 per month for 500 messages (400 numeric, 100 text). Nationwide alphanumeric paging with 200 numeric and 100 messages per month is $112 per month.
Average. Nationwide coverage across the U.S., including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; also in Canada. Average. Like the others, PageNet allows you to send pages over the Internet. Many additional features incur additional costs. Voice mail for national service, for example, is $12 per month. CompuServe users can forward their e-mail to their pager. Moderate. Many plans are available. Local alphanumeric service is $16.95 per month on average for 300 free numeric and 100 text messages. Nationwide, alphanumeric coverage is $43.95 per month, with 200 free numeric messages per month and 100 text messages.
Good. Available across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, parts of South America, and the Pacific Rim. Good. The first to offer two-way paging, SkyTel has a broad array of service options. Pages can be sent over the Internet; e-mail can be sent from MCI Mail and CompuServe. Personal 800-numbers and fax forwarding are also available. Reuters news is included in the two-way paging plan. Moderate. Nationwide alphanumeric service with the two-way pager is $39.95 per month. For infrequent travelers, there’s a $23.95 per-month one-way Alpha pager that covers metropolitan areas and allows you to go nationwide when necessary