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A payphone (alternative spelling: pay phone) is typically a coin-operated public telephone, often located in a "telephone booth or a privacy hood, with pre-payment by inserting money (usually "coins) or by billing a "credit or "debit card, or a "telephone card. Prepaid "calling cards also facilitate establishing a call by first calling the provided "toll-free "telephone number, entering the card account number and PIN, then the desired connection telephone number. An equipment usage fee may be charged as additional units, minutes or tariff fee to the collect/third-party, debit, credit, telephone or prepaid calling card when used at payphones. By agreement with the landlord, either the phone company pays rent for the location and keeps the revenue, or the landlord pays rent for the phone and shares the revenue.
Payphones are often found in public places to contribute to the notion of universal access to basic communication services. One thesis, written as early as 2003, recognised this as a "digital divide problem.
Payphones in the past have used "token coins, available for sale at a local retailer, to activate pay phones instead of legal tender coins. In some cases these have been upgraded to use magnetic cards or credit card readers.
In the past, payphones were ubiquitous around the world but their prevalence has decreased significantly over the years due to the increasing availability of "mobile phones, but cell phone service is not always available in emergencies: Hurricane Sandy knocked down the cell phone antennas, and the landline was the most reliable.
Most payphones in Canada are owned and operated by large telecom providers such as "Bell, "Telus and "SaskTel. In the last 20 years customer-owned coin-operated telephones (COCOT) have also appeared in the market, but their numbers are smaller due to emergence of mobile phones.
The cost of most local payphone calls is 50 cents "CAD, having increased from 25 cents since 2007. Pay phones in "Alberta were 35 cents for a time, but in most jurisdictions the price simply doubled. Newer phones allow users to use calling cards and credit cards. For coin-paid long distance, COCOTs are less expensive for short calls (typically "$1 for three minutes) than "incumbent providers (whose rates start near $5 for the first minute).
The "Toronto Transit Commission deploys payphones on all subway platforms as a safety precaution; a blue "Crisis Link" button on 141 payphones connects directly with Distress Centres of Canada as a free "suicide prevention measure.
As of 2013, there were about 70,000 payphones across the country.
In 2013, the CRTC issued a temporary moratorium on the removal of payphones in small communities.
In September 2015, the "CRTC remarked that "32 per cent of Canadians used a payphone at least once in the past year," and that they are used "as a last resort in times of inconvenience and emergency."
The payphone model 23, introduced at "Deutsche Bundespost Telekom in 1992, is an electronic software controlled payphone for analog connections. It is equipped with coin, ("German: Münzspeicherwagen), and integrated test program setting. It has a remote maintenance, the independent reports of a background system by means of an integrated modem error (for example, defects in components, lack of listeners), operating states (for example, full coin box) or departures (for example standing open the cartridge mounting door, missing coin) to the all public pay telephones of Deutsche Telekom AG are turned on.
The Payphone 23 consists of two basic units, the equipment part including all the necessary for the operation modules (BG) and the secured below the growing payphone cassettes with the coin box.
In the Soviet period different types of payphones were produced. There were also "long-distance call payphones costing 15 kopeks, and also provided services of paid media such as listening to an anecdote, obtaining legal advice, or finding the address of the subscriber by phone number. After the "collapse of the Soviet Union and the "monetary reform of 1991, this form of payment became irrelevant. Some payphones were altered to accept tokens, while others have been designed to use "telephone cards. For example, in "St Petersburg, payment for payphones can be made with metro tokens. In some "regions, calls from public phones are free of charge.
Telephones were a monopoly of the national government. Pay phones took a slug or ficha, a piece of metal with two troughs in it, making it hard to counterfeit. Payphones were typically found in bars, restaurants, and stores, never freestanding. Phones would accept some 5 fichas at a time (the exact number varied depending on phone model), showing through a plastic window the number remaining, and return unused ones to the customer.
An older and simpler system was to use a counter, which automatically counted units of time, called pasos, a "pass" in the sense of "passage of tme". The counter was the marcador de pasos. The length of each paso varied depending on the cost (distance) of the call. At the conclusion of a call the number of pasos was multiplied by a fixed amount, which could vary by time of day, creating a sum total that the customer would pay to a human attendant. These survived in small hotels until the 1970s.
"Spain also had an institution with no equivalent in the "United States, the locutorio, literally "place where one talks". They were a type of store, in the main square of a town or close to it, where one booked a phone call by going to a counter, filling out a paper slip, and handing it to a human (almost always a female). Sometimes advance payment was required (unused minutes refunded). The recipient of the slip would either directly or indirectly, depending on the equipment, make the call and send the customer to a phone booth with a dialless instrument on which to speak. In communities too small to support a locutorio this service might be offered by businesses with telephones, such as pharmacies. Locutorios disappeared in the last quarter of the 20th century, as the whole country moved to "direct distance dialing and "cell phones (in Spanish "mobile phones") grew.
In the UK payphones have been deregulated. The great majority of them are still operated by "British Telecom but there are other providers, mostly in urban areas. "Manchester, London, "Cardiff and "Glasgow at the turn of the 21st century have a greater concentration of non-BT payphones. Since BT has been removing payphones which are unprofitable, have few or no calls made in a financial year.
BT allows local communities to adopt the iconic "Red K6 Kiosks due to strong opposition to their removal from the communities that the kiosks reside in. This will mean the removal of the phone, leaving the empty kiosk in-situ.
Another option BT has provided is the sponsored kiosk, that will retain the phone service, and retain the kiosk for an annual fee of around £300 +VAT, whether it is the Red K6 or the newer aluminium and glass kiosks that cannot be adopted.
From 1 June 2010, BT payphones have £0.60 minimum charge which is for first 30 minutes of any direct dialled national geographic call. Previously the minimum charge was £0.40 for the first 20 minutes of any direct dialled national geographic call. Then before November 2006 the minimum charge was £0.30, before 2004 it was £0.20 and before 2000 it was £0.10. However, making a call using a credit/debit card incurs a minimum charge of £1.20, and includes 1 minute of call time, £0.20 per minute thereafter, as of September 2011.
A BT Chargecard is a considerably cheaper way to call from any UK landline, including Payphones. Other cards which can be used are the Post Office phonecard, Tesco international calling card and many other "telephone cards which can be bought from "newsagents.
There is a 40p connection charge, in addition to the "per minute" charges shown below, and a minimum charge of 60p.
|Call prefix||Type of call||Seconds per 10p block||Cost per minute|
|01||To BT landline||900||0.67p|
Payphones were preceded by pay stations, manned by telephone company attendants who would collect rapid payment for calls placed. The Connecticut Telephone Co. reportedly had a payphone in their New Haven office beginning 1 June 1880; the fee was handed to an attendant. In 1889, a public telephone with a coin-pay mechanism was installed at the Hartford Bank in "Hartford, Connecticut by the Southern New England Telephone Co. It was a "post-pay" machine; coins were inserted at the end of a conversation. The coin mechanism was invented by William Gray; he was issued a series of patents for his devices, beginning with US#454470 issued June 23, 1891 for a 'Signal Device for Telephone Pay-Stations' which rang a bell for each coin inserted. He subsequently founded the Telephone Pay Station Co. in 1891. The "pre-pay" phone debuted in Chicago in 1898.
By 1902 there were 81,000 payphones in the United States.["citation needed] By 1905, the first outdoor payphones with booths were installed. By the end of 1925, 25,000 of these booths existed in New York City alone.["citation needed] In 1960, the "Bell System installed its one millionth telephone booth.["citation needed] Booths, which were expensive, gradually faded away not much later.
The "Bell System pay phone took nickels (5¢), dimes (10¢), and quarters (25¢); a strip of metal along the top had holes the size of each coin. This made possible a mechanism causing each coin to make a different series of sounds as it fell into the cash box; thus an operator listening could tell how much had been inserted.
After the "breakup of the Bell System in 1984, it was not long before independent stores selling telephones opened up. After that privately owned payphones hit the market. Sources differ as to whether the peak number of payphones in the United States was 2.6 million in 1995 or 2.2 million in 2000. Since 2007, the number of payphones in the United States in operation has declined by 48%. In July 2009, AT&T officially stopped supporting the Public Payphone service. Over 139,000 locations were sold in 2009. At the end of 2012, the FCC reported the number of payphones at 243,487 generating $362 million falling to $286 million by 2015. The major carriers, "AT&T and "Verizon, have both exited the business, leaving the market to be served by independent payphone companies. An estimated 100,000 payphones in the US remain as of 2018, with roughly a fifth of them located in New York City. 
In recent years, "deregulation in the United States has allowed payphone service provided by a variety of companies. Such telephones are called customer-owned coin-operated telephones (COCOT), and are mostly kept in as good condition as compared with a payphone owned and operated by the local telephone company.["citation needed] COCOT contracts are usually more generous to the landlord than telco ones, hence telco payphones on private premises have been more often replaced than street phones.["further explanation needed] One common "implementation is operated by "vending machine companies and contains a hard-wired list of non-toll "telephone exchanges to which it will complete calls.["citation needed]
In the United States, a payphone "operator collects an "FCC-mandated fee of 49.4¢ from the owner of a toll-free number for each call successfully placed to that number from the payphone. This results in many toll-free numbers rejecting calls from payphones in an attempt to avoid this surcharge; "calling cards, which require the caller to dial through a toll-free number, will often pass this surcharge back to the caller, either as a separate itemized charge, a 50¢ to 90¢ increase in the price of the call, or (in the case of many pre-paid calling cards) the deduction of an extra number of minutes from the balance of the pre-paid card.["citation needed]
In the "Superman comic books and live action films, "Clark Kent routinely uses a phone booth to change into his Superman costume. Similarly, "Underdog also changes into his costume from a shoe-shine vendor using a phone booth, however, with total demolition of the booth and phone set.
A pay phone booth was used as a time machine in the 1989 film "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
The 2002 film "Phone Booth takes place in a phone booth. The main character is held hostage in it for a whole day. He has been using the payphone to call his mistress so that his wife will not see the telephone number on their cellular telephone bill.
A "Mojave phone booth in an isolated area of the "Mojave National Preserve miles from the paved road was the subject of an Internet meme and a 2006 independent film, "Mojave Phone Booth. The original "Pacific Bell booth was removed in 2000; for nostalgia, Lucky225 assigned its number (1-760-733-9969) to an open conference bridge in 2013.
Payphone in "China with a web browser built-in.
Bicycle payphone in "Uganda
"Hong Kong payphone
"Toronto payphones covered with graffiti and notices.
Payphone in "Ashgabat
A payphone in "India.
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