PageNet offers two-way paging and advanced messaging

Representing part of its nearly $100 million ongoing investment in wireless messaging services, Paging Network of Canada (PageNet) plans to launch an advanced messaging and two-way paging network in the Canadian wireless market.

“The service greatly expands their (customers) choice of services,” said Garry Fitzgerald, president and CEO of PageNet Canada. “We’re taking our national one-way service with all of the options that they have today and expanding it in two categories: first is two-way paging, paging that works like one-way paging does today with a response channel; and a second category which is advanced messaging, which…has all of the stuff that’s at your desktop, today, on your belt.”

Offering the service in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Quebec City, London, Ont., Hamilton, Edmonton, Calgary and Victoria, PageNet has established an infrastructure to “serve as the ‘legs’ to the Internet allowing customers the full freedom of wireless communications,” said Fitzgerald.

Based on the ReFLEX 25 protocol, PageNet, working with Glenayre Electronics Inc., plans to deliver a wireless-messaging network that provides both superior coverage and quality, said Fitzgerald.

“Glenarye is the supplier of the infrastructure and they are the world’s leader in the supply of the wireless messaging infrastructure that we have deployed. As the first company in Canada to deploy this (ReFLEX), we rely on Glenarye for both their infrastructure knowledge as well as their deployment knowledge to help us rapidly and efficiently deploy our network in Canada.”

The ReFLEX 25 network will allow subscribers access to services like e-Messaging, wireless e-mail, personalised e-mail addresses, guaranteed delivery, superior in-building penetration and auto correction.

“The ReFLEX is part of the FLEX family of protocols that are the defacto standard for paging and messaging now,” said Fitzgerald. “FLEX is the protocol for one-way paging and ReFLEX is the protocol that has a return channel in it. The out channel will work very similar to the way paging works today, and the back channel will work over frame relay linked with our terminals and transmission network.”

Customers can choose from a range of messaging products, including both RIM (Research in Motion) and Motorola.

“It’s (PageNet) a great company. We’re real excited about the whole deployment of ReFLEX being Canada’s first network that will be up and running with the intention of being nation-wide,” said Jim Filice , director of sales, Wireless Messaging, Motorola Canada Ltd. “It is definitely going to take the Canadian paging business and really turn it into more of a messaging business.”

In addition to personal messaging devices, PageNet will also offer a variety of telemetry devices, allowing communications between machines in remote locations, used in the remote control of applications for the utility industry, vending market, security industry, and travel and leisure market.

According to Mark Quigley, senior analyst with the Yankee Group in Canada, “No longer are people interested in having just that little beep and buzz and the phone number. People, these days, want to associate messaging with something a little more, whether that’s a text description of the message or an e-mail — I think expectations have grown to include that,” he said. “Certainly these days where people doing business have come to rely more and more on things like the Internet to conduct their day-to-day business, the ability to integrate that e-mail functionality into a messaging system makes an infinite amount of sense.”

He added, “They’re (PageNet) certainly entering the right marketplace…for these kinds of services. They are coming to the market a little later than Cantel, but there is still tremendous opportunity for them right now because the perceived utility of these kinds of devices is greatly increasing.”

The services range from about $25/month to about $100/month depending on the plan. The service has been available in major markets in Canada since May 1, 2000 and secondary markets are being added. For more information and coverage maps for PageNet services, visit