phoneboothOne of my first experiences as an employee of Bell Canada (I was an MBA CoOp student on my first workterm after 1 semester of introductory this and introductory that) was to read in the 1987 strategic marketing plan how the company, which was a monopoly at the time, was investing in branding payphone booths from TELEPHONE to BELL, to prepare the market for the eventual competition. And how, at the time, some 17,000 customers believed that they could contract HIV/AIDS from payphones.

I even had a friend (Colin MacDonald of London Ontario) who worked as a payphone sales executive for Bell. He'd spec out the details of what the revenue share would be with a property owner and point out the conditions on where the phone would go and so on, and collected a commission check on the call revenues collected.

As a struggling newspaper delivery boy in the early 1970s, I spent many a cold morning waiting for the delivery truck in the payphone at the local  Mac's Milk.

So, as you can tell, it should not come as a surprise my eyes filled with tears as I read this article in FierceTelecom. Coronado CA has figured out that payphones don't pay, any more. They canceled their deployment on public property.

Sadly, payphones are obsolete. sniff. sniff. There are only 1 million in the US left (down from 2.8 million a decade ago).

In my trip to Germany a year ago, I noticed that payphones were only available in the train stations and airports. No doubt, to allow calls by the mobile-disadvantaged North Americans. 

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