Wireless text communication has become a basic communication necessity in the deaf community. Through wireless pagers or handheld communication devices, deaf and hard of hearing people are exchanging e-mail, instant messages, and can communicate in emergencies. More and more companies are offering wireless communication services with alphanumeric messaging or paging. Which one is the best one for you?
One of the most popular is the Danger Sidekick (commonly referred to as the T-Mobile Sidekick, although T-Mobile is not the manufacturer), available through a dealer network. The Sidekick devices are sold by the dealers, while the service contract is with T-Mobile. I myself have a Sidekick.
T-Mobile offers a data only communications package for those who do not wish to (or can not) use voice communications. In addition, some service providers have deaf-related offerings such as captioned movie information. Other features listed are those thought to be of the most benefit to deaf and hard of hearing consumers.
One of the most essential features needed by deaf and hard of hearing people is instant messaging. Internet relay services are accessible through instant messaging.
Which device or provider to go with? The information below may help. The business is highly competitive and fluid. Some of the providers listed at the time of this article may no longer exist and/or services and devices available may have changed. These lists are not intended to be comprehensive, but representative of the choices available to deaf and hard of hearing consumers of wireless services.
Cell phone devices routinely feature instant messaging. Deaf and hard of hearing consumers have plenty of choices.
Wireless Communications Providers and Retailers
- Fuse Wireless (Retailer)
- Harris Communications (Retailer)
- Metrocall (Provider, paging)
- Potomac Technology (Retailer)
- Skytel (Provider, pager)
- T-Mobile (Provider)
- United TTY Wireless (Retailer)
- Go America (Retailer)