Faulkner's Telecom Daily (subscription required to view) tells us this morning that Finland's largest telecom, TeliaSonera, will remove the last of its remaining 2,000 public telephones by May 2006 "due to low demand, high maintenance costs, and outdated equipment."
TeliaSonera was the last of 16 Finnish telecoms to offer pay phones. Finland, of course, is home of Nokia, who has been known to make a cellphone or two.
According to the most recently available stats from the FCC, the total number of pay phones in the U.S. was 1.5 million in 2003, a loss of nearly 600,000 from five years earlier.
Haven't used a payphone in quite a while, but I don't think the payphone is going away in North America. I see a few niches where they can and will survive.
Truck stops, locations out of cell coverage range, the inner sanctums of buildings where cell service is spotty, hospitals, bus stations and - I hate to say it - economically depressed neighborhoods.
Not college dorms and malls. Hello? Like everyone has a cellphone there.
Yes I do know about pay phones at airports. The kind you plug your laptop into. But Wi-Fi will - heck, is killing that.