TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: NYC Pennsylvania Station Pay Phone Usage

Re: NYC Pennsylvania Station Pay Phone Usage
13 Sep 2006 07:28:57 -0700

Mr Joseph Singer wrote:

> Here in Seattle pay phones have been 50 cents untimed for several
> years now. Prior to that they were 35 cents for about a month! Prior
> to that they were 25 cents. The telcos in their infite wisdom decided
> that the competition from cellphones was a good reason to double the
> rate for pay phones.

Around the time the payphone was 35c they were deregulated by the
government, meaning a payphone owner could charge whatever he wanted,
from 5c to $1 or more. Some of this resulted from competition from
privately owned payphones.

The cost of communications equipped overall has reduced the cost of
telephone service. Pay phones are an exception. Due to vandalism, the
phones require more protective steel and that makes them expensive.
The cost of labor to retrieve the coin box is expensive. The greatly
increased use of 800 numbers and alternate reduced long distance
revenues. Payphones were declining already, the widespread use of
cellphones only accelerated that trend.

> As far as using or not using your cellphone, well at least for me my
> cellphone is for *my* convenience. Why have a cellphone if you don't
> use it?

For emergencies, particularly while driving, e.g. car break down.

My $20/month cell phone is free nights and weekends in my local area
(which is rather large). However, NYC is outside my local area
("roaming") and I was there during peak times, so the per minute cost
would be rather high compared to a pay phone.

If I paid $40/month I could get a cellphone with free day and roam
calling, but it's not worth the extra $20 for the limited times I
would use it. I considered the pay as you go plans but they are much
less convenient and not much of a saving.

> I think it's required at least when the phone is put in that
> directories be available.

I can't speak for that state, but not much is required these days for
telephone services.

> AT&T was the only carrier that would place coin sent paid calls
> inter-LATA. AT&T stopped handling sent paid inte-LATA calls several
> years ago from CO controlled pay phones. Intra-LATA calls (at least
> in Qwest territory) can still be made sent coin paid. On the
> "Millennium" smart pay phones you can make sent paid inter-LATA calls.
> AT&T evidently doesn't want to handle inter-LATA calls if operators
> are involved at all.

Well the Verizon pay phones in NYC offered coin long distance. Who is
handling the cross LATA long distance calls? Who is asking for and
controlling the coin deposit?

P.S. I don't know if I mentioned, but the instruction card said
$1/minute, 4 minute minimum. But when I dialed a call, it asked for
$1.05. I don't know why it wanted the extra nickel.

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