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Phone booth to disappear from streets


Having gotten permission from the government, KPN, the Dutch phone company, is going to reduce the number of its already less familiar green triangular phone booths, reports Blik op Nieuws (Dutch). Until now the government obliged the former state monopolist to provide one phone booth per 5,000 citizens in towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Use of the KPN phone booths dropped about 76% between 2000 and 2006. A whopping 95% of the people have stopped using the booths altogether, preferring to use one of the 17 million mobile phones instead (out of a population of 16 million), according to the news site.

I remember phone booths being ubiquitous, square and something other than green (bright red or yellow, I forget—this was in the 1970s). To me it never seemed there were many of the newer models to begin with. KPN is apparently going to keep a couple of booths around, for instance where they believe the elderly still need them.

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  1. Márcia W. says:

    In my case I only went “mobile” 5 years ago when I had some teenager visitors from abroad. First, it was difficult to explain them that every company had its own telephone card and that unless you have a chipcard (or a creditcard) you simply could not use the booth. Difficult to say which came first, the egg or the chicken but I guess my case is not isolated. Think that you could find phones in the trains!! Regards.

  2. Branko Collin says:

    Oh yeah, the phone cards, I had forgotten about those. The booths used to be coin operated, and when they switched over KPN kept coin operated booths alongside card operated ones at some locations.

  3. Jay Vos says:

    Oh yeah, Branko, I remember that, too!

  4. Eric says:

    If memory serves me well — and I have to admit that I can’t guarantee its error free operation ;-) — the square phone booths used to be yellow in “ye olde days”… Last time I usede one was when I was still studying, rented a room on the attic of some familty home and my land lord wouldn’t let me use his telephone. And a mobile phone was way too expensive for a student like myself.

  5. […] in 2008 ex phone company monopoly KPN was reducing the number of pay phones from the streets, only leaving some in places with a high concentration of elderly people. In fact, KPN was legally […]

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