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Industry Founder Motorola To Exit Pager Market

Motorola, which introduced the first pager in the mid-1950s and still sells more pagers in the United States than anyone else, is exiting the market.

The company, which began early this year to contract out all pager manufacturing, will stop distributing one-way pagers and ReFlex-format two-way pagers in mid-2002. The company will concentrate on marketing two-way messaging devices that operate on GSM and CDMA wireless-voice networks. The company already offers two such devices and plans to distribute a third in a few weeks.

Miguel Pellon, VP/GM of Motorola’s wireless messaging division, acknowledged the paging industry’s economic woes when he said, “Sales of our traditional one- and two-way messaging products are migrating to demand for two-way messaging for use on cellular networks with integrated product offerings and increased functionality.”

Messaging carriers were officially informed of the decision a few weeks ago and have been working with other companies to secure an alternate source of manufacturing for two-way devices, which only Motorola currently distributes. Those sources could include Motorola’s current contract manufacturer, Celestica, said one carrier.

U.S. carriers already market one-way pagers made by PerComm, Standard Telecom and others, who have eroded Motorola’s one-way share because of lower manufacturing costs, carriers said.

Motorola’s current contract manufacturer won’t be allowed to market products under the Motorola name or manufacture Motorola’s current models under any other brand name, Motorola said.