New Life For Beepers: Sending Data To Laptops

It's not as sexy as a cellular telephone, but the lowly beeper has a market that keeps growing. According to a new report by Frost & Sullivan International, a market researcher in New York and London, the ranks of U. S. subscribers should hit 23 million by 1996--more than double 1990's figure of 9.8 million. Industry revenue should rise more modestly, to $2.1 billion by 1996, up from $1.4 billion last year.

One source of growth: sending data to laptop computers over paging frequencies. Michael Vernetti, senior vice-president of Telocator, an industry group, says the market is "just a blip on the screen for now" but could grow quickly. Motorola Inc. recently bought a national paging license that will be used exclusively for data transmission and has begun work with Hewlett-Packard Co. Another paging operator, Telefind Corp. in Coral Gables, Fla., is working with American Telephone & Telegraph Co., which sells the Safari notebook computer. And Cue Paging Corp. in Irvine, Calif., is working with Sharp Corp., maker of the Sharp Wizard electronic organizer.

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