Radio Comm Co. wireless communication services will no longer offer traditional paging service, but new technology will allow the company to provide even better service to keep its customers connected.
Rodney Stoyer, Radio Comm director of sales and marketing at the Washington store, said after a year’s consideration, the owners had originally decided to discontinue the service in August because the satellite used to link all of the company’s paging sites would no longer be available to them.
But on May 14, a catastrophic failure in a major portion of the satellite uplink hardware forced them into an early deactivation.
Owner Joyce Pollock said the costs to convert all of the equipment over to a newer satellite that would be necessary to maintain paging was just not feasible.
“We want all of our loyal customers to understand that this was not a simple decision,” she said. “We explored all available options and weighed out all of the potential costs to upgrade our system.”
With the advent of smartphones and other technology, Stoyer said paging has pretty much become a thing of the past for the general population.
“Long gone are the days everyone has one,” he said. “People used to give them to their kids to keep tabs on them, much like they give them a cellphone today.”
Stoyer said the majority of paging service now is used by people in the medical field, veterinarians and first responders.
“They were built for rural areas where cellphones don’t work,” he said. “We weren’t ready to have it end, but cell coverage is getting much better.”
Radio Comm will still be able to service former paging customers with other technology, such as a cellphone paging service, which will allow customers to still receive pages, but also reap the benefits of smartphone technology and cellular phone service in one device.
“Nobody likes to carry around multiple devices anyway,” he said.
Radio Comm offers Priority Link paging for cell phones, which works much like traditional paging.
Customers can keep their pager number, but the page is routed to their cellphone as an SMS message, similar to a text message.
“We have been having great performance from our Priority Link product,” Stoyer said. “We have already converted many customers over to this program with great success.”
For people living in rural areas where cellphone service might be weak, Radio Comm has technology that will boost coverage.
“If you have a smidgen of a signal, we can enhance that,” Stoyer said.
The booster can range from $200 for enhanced cell coverage to around $1,000 for enhanced data reception.
Although Radio Comm may have lost traditional paging, the company is well diversified and business is growing strong in other areas, Stoyer said.
“Most people knew us as Radio Comm pagers,” he said. “People don’t realize how much our business deals with other areas, such as two-way radio.”
Stoyer said two-way radios can now offer digital technology that allows people to be reached most anywhere, including across the country and through internet links, even around the world.
“Two-way is as good as you can imagine,” he said. “That’s where our business has been going.”