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BT to sell off surplus red phone boxes as need declines

Success of mobile phones pushes out traditional form of communication
Thu Apr 26 2012, 13:22

UK TELECOM BT is selling off a number of iconic British red phone boxes as the need for the more traditional form of communication declines.

BT spokesman Yusuf King told The INQUIRER, "The number of telephone boxes has been decreasing over the years due to the success of the mobile phone. It's a gradual process - in 2002 there were 92,000 BT phone boxes in the UK, now there are 51,500 kiosks, including 11,000 traditional red phone boxes."

It's not surprising that the number of calls made from telephone boxes in general has dwindled by more than 80 per cent in the last five years, with 60 per cent of phone boxes failing to take in much money.

King said that the number of both red phone boxes and modern kiosks is set to continue to shrink as BT cuts their numbers to match demand.

BT teamed up with kiosk and payphone specialist X2 Connect to sell the original cast iron K6 red phone boxes and said they will be stripped down, repainted, glazed and refurbished to their original red and black livery finish.

King added that there has been a significant decline in calls made from phone boxes.

"Some people still depend on them with over 100,000 calls made a day," he said. "So they are still essential." He added that because of this he doesn't think there's any worry of fixed line communications becoming a thing of the past anytime soon.

The last time BT sold red phone boxes direct to the public was 25 years ago, when thousands of old K6s were auctioned off as part of a payphone modernisation programme. It looks like the stack of unused boxes has got too high for BT to handle.

Those wanting to get their hands on a priceless piece of British history should note that prices will be starting at £1,950. Ouch. µ



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