British fixed line incumbent BT is planning to decommission around half of the country’s remaining payphones over the course of the next five years, according to Sky News. Citing a BT spokesperson, the news outlet reports that BT expects to remove some 13,400 payphones – around 28% of those still in operation – in the next three years, with a further 6,600 to follow by 2022. BT has claimed that more than half of its telephone boxes currently lose money, while a third of the total are used to make just a single phone call, or are not used at all, each month.
The BT spokesperson said: ‘BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, but with usage declining by over 90% in the last decade, we continue to review and remove payphones which are no longer used … Payphone removals are carried out in strict adherence to Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities. In all instances where there’s no other payphone within 400 metres, we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone.’