TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: My Observations With Pay Phones

My Observations With Pay Phones

Andrew F (
Sun, 21 May 2006 03:21:28 +1000

>> I'm sorry to say it, but my experience using US payphones was not a
>> happy one.

> The combination of deregulation and cell phone providers who compete
> on price has been lethal for pay phones. I just got back from
> Ottawa where ILEC pay phones are still all over the place, offer
> local calls for a quarter, and don't surcharge 800 numbers.

Mostly the same here except Telstra is cutting back and there is some
competition from other payphone vendors. Untimed calls have recently
gone up to AUD0.50 from AUD0.40. The Telstra public payphone accepts a
smart card containing prepaid credit and also offer SMS.

> I think that's partly because the're more regulated, and partly
> because the smaller number of cell carriers don't compete much on
> price.

We have some regulations that are keeping some unprofitable phones
arounds too. Still many are profitable.

Do you have any idea why some phones won't accept coins for
international calls? Is it that tourists don't vote? I remember being
in a hotel that had some Verizon phones and one will work and the
adjacent one will. Different LD carriers apparently which doesn't make
sense. Anyway isn't PhoneOne owned by Verizon?

That was the most annoying thing. The next was the FCC surcharge. The
2nd biggest pay phone vendor here is lobbying for something like
that. In the meantime they are charging a local call charge for
accessing 800 numbers except ones they get a kickback on.

Really, if I had change I wouldn't be calling my own (shared) 800
number (actually I would, it used to save me money) Oh, yes forgot to
tell you, every residential customer of Telstra can get access to an
800 number that allows them to call their own phone without additional
cost other than the call cost charged at the standard payphone
rate. It's seems to be shared with any number of people who have the
same last fours digits of your phone number and have the service
enabled. A 4 digits PIN serves to selects your line and is the only
(weak) security provided.

The card operators are really good at screwing you. Even buying name
cards from reputable vendors the information at point of sale is
incorrect. I can't see why they can't pass the surcharge on at cost -
that would be almost tolerable. At least the smart operators are
offering local call access.

Next after that: finding a working phones in SFO airport and Union
Station in LA. I think Teleco makes more money from phones that don't
work that ones that do. Honestly, I must have tried every phone in the

> On the other hand, Canadian cell users had nationwide roaming that
> worked long before we did. We have little roaming here but then
> again our 2 largest operators have good nationwide coverage.


Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Mr Joseph Singer: "Re: World Cup Fans Warned Against Buying Tickets on Ebay"
Go to Previous message: "Help! Anyone Know of Online Phone Service (With a Chosen Area Code)"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page