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How Does a Pager Work?

Updated July 20, 2017

A pager, also known as a "beeper," is a small, electronic device. It "beeps" to alert the user when there's an incoming message. Once a person purchases a pager, he must subscribe to a paging service to receive his own unique phone number and/or e-mail address.

Numeric Pagers

A one-way numeric pager can only receive numeric messages. The pager displays the numeric message through an LCD screen. A numeric message can consist of a few digits or an entire telephone number. If a numeric message consists of a telephone number, the recipient of the message is expected to call the telephone number back.

Alphanumeric Pagers

Unlike numeric pagers, alphanumeric pagers can receive numeric messages, e-mail and SMS messages. As a modified version of the numeric pager, the alphanumeric pager's display screen is larger to accommodate text messages.

Paging Someone You Know

A person with a touch-tone phone, cell phone or Internet access can send a message to a person with a pager. The page can consist of a numeric message or an alphanumeric message, depending on the type of pager the recipient owns.

If the person who owns the pager has an alphanumeric pager, they can receive e-mails and text messages. To send an e-mail to an alphanumeric pager, simply log into your e-mail account. Address your e-mail to the email address that corresponds with the pager. Type your message and click "Send." To send a text message, use a cell phone or two-way pager.

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About the Author

Ris Lexington, a New York-based editor, has more than a decade of experience in newspaper, magazine and book publishing. Before becoming a professional writer online in 2007, she served as the editor of a Canadian health and wellness magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in English.