Card Phones- remember those?

  jack 12:07 18 Jul 2007

We had one at the end of my road - other a few other scattered around - looking forlorn and presumably little used.
Then recently the one at the end of the road was removed and the hole filled in.
Shortly there after a large grey metal box on a pedestal appeared- not no 'visible opening or marks to view as one walked past.
Eventually ,when next I walked by I was moved to take a closer look- a new phone terminal perhaps? or a junction box.

Not at all on the back side a door with a keyhole and the legend 'Post Office' on it.
A new type pick up point for postie?
Hitherto a personnel bus/van has cruised the area resupplying the posties.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:43 18 Jul 2007

Phone boxes of all types are disappearing off our streets (although can still be found in bust areas like airports and large stations).

This lack of public phone boxes is probably due to vandalism and the spread of the mobile phone.

Something else that seems to be disappearing is the Public Lavatory.

What other amenities are disappearing from your area?

  jack 13:25 18 Jul 2007

Something else that seems to be disappearing is the Public Lavatory.- says FB

Soon to be replaces wit a mobile personal lavatory
no doubt.
Already in existence if you peruse the small ads in the likes of
Yours. Saga and other publications aimed to the ageing populace

  Bingalau 13:25 18 Jul 2007

I bought and kept a card in my wallet for emergency use in public phones (In case I had no change). After a couple of years when I had cause to use it I found they had become redundant. So I still have it wrapped in cellophane as issued worth a fiver. Ah well I suppose it may well become a collectors item in a few years' time

  Stuartli 17:14 18 Jul 2007

We've had the metal boxes on pedestals situated all over our area for several years for postmen/women's use.

  lisa02 17:21 18 Jul 2007

The problem with call boxes is the charge keeps going up.

On my PAYG tarriff 25ppm for the first lot of minutes, I was better off going to a call box if I was near one to make a call. Now it's not as the minimum charge has went up making my phone cheaper in comparison.

I suppose it's one of those circles, the charge goes up because not many people are using them and the ones that are using them stop because the cost is going up.

  Forum Editor 17:26 18 Jul 2007

have been with us in my part of London for years. They're designed to keep the postmen/women on the streets, delivering letters, instead of them going back to the sorting office for more.

As for public call boxes - I imagine they've become largely uneconomic, now that almost everyone has a mobile phone. The vandalism costs must have been considerable.

The new street feature seems to be the ATM - there are dozens of them sprouting up in London, and I imagine, everywhere else. Interestingly, I heard the managing director of the biggest private ATM operators talking on the radio the other day. He said that, far from becoming an exclusively plastic society, we're using more cash these days - the demand for cash from ATMs is growing fast, and his company is going to install thousands more of them on our streets.

  interzone55 13:21 19 Jul 2007

From the intermittently reliable Wikipedia:-

The phone card as an artifact or collectible

Telecom companies have also taken advantage of phone cards to place advertising on them, or to feature celebrity portraits, artwork, or attractive photography to increase the appeal of the cards to consumers. This practice, combined with the disposability of the cards (encouraging individuals to purchase multiple cards), has led some people to start collecting phone cards as a hobby.

The hobby is called "fusilately" and a collector is known as a "fusilatelist". Phonecards have been collected worldwide since the mid 1970's and peaked in the mid 1990s. At its height, over 2 million people collected phonecards. Phonecard collecting is known occasionally as telegery in the USA or fusilately in the UK. There are many Web sites about this hobby where collectors can browse thousands of different cards from all over the world, each having some kind of personal story.

With the advent of the mobile phone, the hobby has been in decline due to the major national telecom companies ceasing to supply prepaid phonecards.

btw BT still has a public service responsibility to provide public call boxes, so if you haven't got one in your town give them a call on

Payphone helpdesk
0800 252 541

Complaints/public payphone enquiries
0800 661 610

  jack 14:02 19 Jul 2007

I too am familiar with the red metal drop boxes
sometime affixed to a postbox.
This simply my observation that the Post Office seem to have acquired the spot formerly occupied by the card phone.

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