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Public Wide Area Paging Information


General Information

Public Wide Area Paging (PWAP) systems are radio systems that the public can subscribe to. Each Operator who runs a public wide area paging system has their channels assigned by the Agency. PWAP systems operate through base stations all over the UK or within defined regional areas.

There are three types of pager currently available, which all of the UK operators can provide.

* Tone Pager: These devices only indicate that a message has been received. They are used to prompt the user to call a pre-defined telephone number.
* Numeric Pagers: These allow a string of numbers to be displayed. In most cases a telephone number is displayed, prompting the user to call that number. More complex messages can be sent via these devices by use of a predefined code.
* Alphanumeric Pagers: These allow a message consisting of a string of characters to be displayed. As a result, more complex messages can be conveyed.

These systems at present permit the transmission of one way calls to a paging receiver, via a base station, anywhere within the UK or depending on the system within a defined geographic area. PWAP operators can provide details of the extent of coverage in the UK.

European Radio Message System (ERMES)

The European paging system ERMES has failed to develop as expected. The Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) has asked the EC to consider withdrawal of the EC Directive 90/544/EEC concerning harmonised spectrum for ERMES paging services and intends to withdraw ERC Decision (94) 02 once new applications for the band have been agreed.

In response to our consultation of May 2002 industry proposed a number of alternative services which may benefit from harmonised spectrum.

The UK Government is currently taking a lead role in on-going discussions in Europe regarding the future use of the harmonised 169 MHz band, urging consideration of the possibility of a technical framework able to encompass a variety of co-existing systems.

Currently the ongoing European discussions include inter alia:

The final decision on the use of this band will be a matter for Ofcom in 2004.

Two Way Paging (TWP)


Following the Government's consultation on the introduction of Two Way Paging (TWP) in October 1999, the ERMES band was designated technologically neutral in the UK and made available, in part, for Two Way Paging services as well as ERMES.

Like ERMES, TWP has failed to develop as expected with only one operator in the UK currently holding a Two Way Paging licence. Future allocation of the 169 MHz band for TWP is currently under review.

Who can provide me with a service?

Technical Standards


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Public paging has national allocations in the VHF and UHF bands. It is not currently possible to publish the specific frequencies used by the networks but the following is an indication of where in the spectrum they are located:

105 - 170 MHz,

450 - 470 MHz.

ERMES services are located in the 169 MHz band.

TWP will be allocated spectrum between 870 and 871 MHz

Further Information

For further information on the WT Act licensing of public paging systems, please contact:

Sairah Majeed Tel: 0207 211 0244 or email sairah.majeed@ra.gsi.gov.uk .

Technical enquiries on public paging systems should be addressed to:

Pierina DelPizzo Tel: 0207 211 0439 email: pierina.delpizzo@ra.gsi.gov.uk .

Enquiries about the Telecommunications Act should be made to:

Department of Trade and Industry
Communication and Information Industries Directorate
151 Buckingham Palace Road
Tel: 020 7215 5000

In the UK there is also an Industry Association which represents the interests of the UK Paging industry. This association is known as the Wireless Messaging Association.

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Who can provide me with service?

Network Operators

The Public Wide Area Paging network Operators are as follows:

BTCellnet Paging
Arlington Business Centre
Millshaw Park Lane
LS11 0NE
Tel: 0113 272 2000
Fax: 0113 271 5815
web page: www.bt.com/btpaging


PageOne Communications Limited
(formely Mercury Paging Ltd).

2 Brentside Executive Centre
Great West Road
Tel: 020  8914 5000
Fax: 020 8914 5001


Vodafone Paging Limited
Vodapage House
21/22 Park Way
RG14 1EE
Tel: 07699 112200
Fax: 01635 36035


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Technical Standards

The following technical standards are applicable for public paging systems:

MTP1325   " Performance Specification for VHF and UHF radio transmitters for use in base stations in the wide area paging service"

ETS 300 113 "Radio equipment and Systems (RES): Land Mobile Service; Technical characteristics and test conditions intended for the transmission of data (and speech) and having an antenna connector"

ETS 300 133 "Electromagnetic Compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); Enhanced Radio Message Systems (ERMES)"

ETS 300 220 "Electromagnetic Compatibility and Radio spectrum Matters (ERM); Short Range Devices; Technical Characteristics and test methods for radio equipment to be used in the 25 MHz to 1000 MHz frequency range with power levels ranging up to 500 mW"

After the introduction of the R&TTE directive type approval to the above standards will no longer be required. Interface Requirements are currently being developed to support the introduction of the directive.

Technical Parameters

The Radio Frequency carrier spacing in the frequency band of operation is required to be 25 kHz.

The maximum ERP for POCSAG national systems is 100 Watts.

The maximum ERP for POCSAG & ERMES regional systems is 25 Watts.

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For any Wireless Telegraphy (WT) Act licence to be issued and to remain valid, a licence fee is required. This licence is renewable annually and the licence fee is required to be paid on or before the anniversary of the issue date of the WT Act licence.

The fee for a Public Wide Area Paging licence is published in the Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges) Regulations. The WT Act licence fee is currently 7,600 per 25 kHz national channel, and 1980 per 25 kHz regional channel.

For further details of the RA’s future proposals to implement administrative pricing please see the RA publication, "Implementing Spectrum Pricing". In 1998 the RA introduced to Parliament legislation to reform the the basis on which fees are set for licences. The principal aim of this legislation is to provide a fairer and more rational basis for pricing radio spectrum. The introduction of administrative pricing has enabled the RA to adopt a more flexible approach to fees. Instead of being constrained simply by a cost-based system, the RA is free to place increased emphasis on the amount of spectrum used. This will in some cases result in a change of licence fee for some licencees.

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