Half a century after their debut, Japan's pager services will finally cease on Tuesday, bringing an end to what was once considered a must-have communications tool by high school girls before the advent of mobile phones.

Tokyo Telemessage Inc., the nation's sole remaining pager provider, said it would begin shutting down the radio signals behind its services at around midnight Monday.

In recent years, the tiny device had been favored mainly by those working in hospitals, where cell phone use was once discouraged because of concerns about poor reception and the disruptive effect that electromagnetic waves can have on medical devices.