End of pay telephony: Telekom announces the end of telephone booths in Germany

A heavy door, a tattered phone book, a slightly unpleasant smell and a silver box with a heavy receiver: Only the elderly will remember to have the shortest possible (!) call from a phone booth while diligently pushing small change into the coin slot .

End of pay telephony: Telekom announces the end of telephone booths in Germany

A heavy door, a tattered phone book, a slightly unpleasant smell and a silver box with a heavy receiver: Only the elderly will remember to have the shortest possible (!) call from a phone booth while diligently pushing small change into the coin slot . The public telephones, which at some point no longer appeared as a spacious yellow box but as a slender silver pillar with a roof that was too short, seem to have fallen out of time. Apparently Telekom sees it that way. As reported by the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, among others, the group has announced in a letter to the municipal umbrella organizations and town halls that it will now also dismantle the last telephone booths in Germany.

By February next year, the last 12,000 public telephone boxes in Germany are to be switched off. The phones will then be dismantled piece by piece and is expected to be completed by early 2025.

This step is not particularly surprising. In the past three years, the number of telephone booths in Germany has already fallen sharply. While almost 17,000 telephones were still connected to the network in 2019, the number was only 14,200 in January 2022 - a decrease of almost 16 percent.

Unsurprisingly, Telekom cited the increasing use of mobile phones as the reason for the gradual demise of telephone booths. But as predictable as the end seemed, Telekom's clear conclusion is still a surprise.

At the beginning of this year, a company spokesman said that a complete dismantling was "currently not planned". Rather, locations where there is a corresponding demand could continue to be operated. These included places with a lot of public traffic such as airports, train stations and shopping streets. This is reported by the "Golem.de" portal.

When the last "classic" yellow phone booth in southern Bavaria was dismantled in April 2019, Telekom project manager Günter Nerlinger explained that Telekom was dismantling the phone booths whose sales fell permanently below 50 euros per month. The reason for this is the significantly higher costs, especially for maintenance of the systems.

After the introduction of the euro in 2002, the use of telephone booths in Germany increased because the currency union made it much easier for tourists in particular to use the telephones. But at the latest since the abolition of roaming fees in the EU area, the decline of the telephone booth could probably no longer be stopped.

Sources: Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Golem.de

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