Paging coverage areas

Paging service is offered in specific geographic areas. Unlike other telecom services, these areas are not dictated by government regulations. Paging service areas are only limited by the number of towers the paging company is willing to build. Paging providers usually divide their coverage offerings into three categories: local, regional, and nationwide. Table 1 shows typical monthly pager rates for a digital pager.

Table 1:Typical Monthly Rates for Digital Pagers

In metropolitan areas, customers can choose between numerous carriers, but in remote areas customers may have only one choice. In this case, there is little leverage to negotiate pricing. The paging company is the only game in town, and it can set its rates without being influenced by external factors, such as competition.

Local coverage
The most basic, and therefore most economical, paging area is called the local coverage area. Local coverage is usually the size of a small state or metropolitan area. Figure 1 shows Central Link’s local coverage area in the Waco, Texas, market. The paging towers broadcast in all directions, which results in a circular pattern around the edges of the coverage area.

Figure 1: Local coverage area for paging in Waco, Texas.

Statewide coverage
In large states, paging companies divide the coverage into two or three local areas. California is split into a northern and southern area. For the pager to work in both areas, the customer must pay for statewide coverage that costs a few dollars more than local coverage. Depending on the carrier, Texas has about seven local coverage areas. Paying for statewide coverage ensures that the pager will work in all seven areas. Figure 23.2 shows Page One’s statewide coverage in Texas. Note that the pager will not work in some rural areas that are not reached by Page One’s towers.

Figure 2: Statewide paging coverage map in Texas.

Regional paging
Most nationwide paging companies divide the country into four regions. Each region contains a dozen separate local coverage areas. This scenario is called regional coverage, and, of course, costs a few dollars more than local coverage. Figure 3 shows Arch Paging’s different regions.

Figure 23.3: Regional coverage area for Arch Paging.

Nationwide paging
No paging supplier offers true nationwide paging. Nationwide means the pager will work in the nation’s largest cities and usually along major interstates, but the service is choppy in remote areas. In 1983, SkyTel first offered nationwide paging, but today, many other carriers offer this service

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