Tuesday, December 04, 2007

AT&T to Disconnect Pay-Phone Business After 129 Years

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. phone company, plans to leave the pay-phone business after 129 years as more people use wireless handsets to make calls on the go.

The first pay phone, installed in 1878, had an attendant who took callers' money, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said. Inventor William Gray set up the first coin-operated phone in 1889 at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut. Both devices were operated by AT&T predecessor companies.

Verizon Communications Inc., the second-biggest U.S. carrier, still operates about 250,000 pay phones and has no plans to exit the business, spokesman Jim Smith said. The company will shut down an unprofitable line unless the location pays a fee to keep it operating, he said.

"There are people who still need them, and so we still sell them,'' Smith said.

To contact the reporter of this story, email Crayton Harrison in Dallas at tharrison5@bloomberg.net.

Click the above 3 December 2007 photo of AT&T service technician Larry Wimberley working on a pay phone in Chicago IL by photographer Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News to read the complete article.

As a result of the increasing use of cell phones, in recent years, and not unlike my interest in call boxes, I have embarked on several ongoing pay phone and phone booth projects. So when searching the internet for information pertaining to this blog posting I was delighted to learn of the Pay Phone Project.

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