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AT&T To Decommission Pay Phones

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the death-by-cell-phone dept.

Communications 470

oahazmatt writes "According to MarketWatch, AT&T said that its pay phones will be phased out over the next year. A company spokeswoman declined to say how much revenue its pay-phone business generated, but the number is small and declining. 'The first public pay-telephone station was set up in 1878, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the talking device. The first coin-operated pay phone was installed in Hartford, Conn., in 1889. For decades after the pay phone's invention, many Americans relied on them because of the expense and difficulty in obtaining reliable home service. Only after World War II did the telephone become a household necessity.'"

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Just great! (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574643)

Now where is Superman supposed to change?

Re:Just great! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574741)

Listen up, Ravens' fans, this is the Nature Boy coming to ya from the center of the universe, a little place I like to call Patrachusetts.

You call that your Superbowl? I call it a fucking meltdown. Ya give the ball back to a god like Brady with 3+ minutes left? Yeah, how's that working for ya? You think you can stop him on 4th down? I think not.

Sure you cry and complain about the refs. Well let me tell you something: the refs know greatness when they see it. You can't blame them for worshiping the Pats anymore than you can blame a veteran for worshiping the commander in chief.

Your season folded like a tent with a broken pole weeks ago, Ravens. Why you chose to make your stand last night is beyond me. Embarrassed yourself in front of a million viewers, good job. Call a timeout on 4th down after Brady teases you with a botched QB sneak. We're not done laughing yet, let me tell you.

In summary, I hope you got as big of a chuckle out of that disaster you call "your Superbowl" as we did, because you might not like it, but you will have to learn to -- what? -- LOVE. IT. or my name isn't the Nature Boy. woooo. woooo.

Worse yet how will car run down trapped victims (2, Interesting)

gmezero (4448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575137)

Sigh... yet another classic movie cliche goes the way of the DoDo.

Re:Just great! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575193)

The real question is where I will "release" after seeing a pretty girl in a short skirt.

Didn't you see the movie? (5, Informative)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575327)

Now where is Superman supposed to change?
Superman has been dealing with this problem since 1978 at least... Remember? He tried to change at the payphone, but found that it didn't have a full booth around it... So he came up with other places to change, like in the revolving door, and in mid-air after jumping out the window, etc...

Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574657)

Only poor people use pay phones anyway.

Re:Good (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574713)

I remember when pay phone calls were $0.10.....were they ever cheaper than that?

I remember when I was young...when Mom would drop me off a the movie theater, or a mall...she'd make sure I had a dime to call home if I had to, etc...

Re:Good (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574837)

I remember when pay phone calls were $0.10.....were they ever cheaper than that?
It's funny that you mention that because I was just remembering how cell phone calls were $0.10 in New Hampshire into the 1990's.

Re:Good (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574929)

cell phone calls were $0.10
I mean pay phone calls. I'm turning into a fuddy duddy.

Re:Good (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575125)

Seemed right to me the first time...

Re:Good (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574847)

I did that in 1996 (year before I turned 16)...
But now, every little kid has a damn cell. It's crazy.

Just putting in my 2 cents worth (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575017)

I remember when they were 2 cents for local calls

(we were so poor we didn't have a car, or a TV or a phone...)

Re:Just putting in my 2 cents worth (4, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575201)

I remember when you just had to push some buttons on a little box that you bought from that guy who always wore a trench coat, and the calls were free ;-)

Re:Good (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575071)

They were $0.10 in the 1960s.

Re:Good (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574767)

Only poor people use pay phones anyway.
If you have a land line at home and access to the telephone at work, then you really can get by without a cell phone. But then, say, when you are out on the road and you need to change plans with friends, you find that you need one. It used to be that you could use a pay phone on such an occasion. I don't think having land lines at work and home and occasionally using a pay phone means that you are poor.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574863)

A lot of people (most?) these days have cell phones - I'm not saying its right, but that's the way it is.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574867)

If you have a land line at home and access to the telephone at work, then you really can get by without a cell phone. But then, say, when you are out on the road and you need to change plans with friends, you find that you need one. It used to be that you could use a pay phone on such an occasion. I don't think having land lines at work and home and occasionally using a pay phone means that you are poor.
That's what "pay as you go" phones are for.

Re:Good (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575023)

That's what "pay as you go" phones are for.


At least, back when I had one, they were a lot more expensive than pay phones for the kind of very occasional use described-- since you had to pay $25-30 every 2-3 months or so (details varied by vendor) to keep the phone active -- but potentially cheaper then regular cell phones for use that was regular but not particularly heavy.

They might have friendlier plans now.

Re:Good (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575133)

Do some investigating. They are *considerably* cheaper than that now. I'm about to submit another message to someone else who made the same assumption as if it were fact without having checked first.

That's what "pay as you go" phones are for.


At least, back when I had one, they were a lot more expensive than pay phones for the kind of very occasional use described-- since you had to pay $25-30 every 2-3 months or so (details varied by vendor) to keep the phone active -- but potentially cheaper then regular cell phones for use that was regular but not particularly heavy.

They might have friendlier plans now.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575273)

I use a pay as you go phone from TMobile. After years of paying $50/mo or more to Verizon I smacked myself in the head for being such a dolt. I reviewed my bills and found that I use less than 100 minutes a month. I fill my phone with the highest cost card ($100) which gives me 1000 minutes that last a year. At $0.10/mi, I spend ~$10/mo. for a cell phone. For light users pay as you go makes sense.

Re:Good (-1, Troll)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574991)

I don't know about your country, but in mine we pay for cell phone service by the minute. A cell phone IS a pay phone.

The only difference is you pay for your minutes every month (or when you buy a card if you're pay as you go) rather than every time you use it.

One more thought - your elitist classist statement turns my stomach. people like you are what's wrong with capitalism.

Say goodbye to superman. (1, Redundant)

proc_tarry (704097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574675)

Where will Clark Kent become Superman?

No longer required.. (4, Insightful)

in2mind (988476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574693)

..Because there are cellphone everywhere? But if you find yourself without cellphone in a situation,would some stranger lend you his for a call you want to make?

Oh its about profit...ok..

Re:No longer required.. (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574737)

And what about those who either choose not to have a cellphone, or can't afford one? Not everyone is willing to dedicate themselves to multi-year plans, or spend a not-insignificant number of dollars on a handset so they can pay (exhorbitantly) as they go.

Re:No longer required.. (-1, Troll)

Polysick (926605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574787)

Cell Phones have become a necessity, like it or not. It is probably because the cell phone providers created the necessity, but it has become a necessity nonetheless.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574885)

Cell Phones have become a necessity, like it or not.

Well that's just bizarre, then, because I don't have a cell phone, and seem to function just fine. But you're right, I'm sure it's a necessity, just like food, clothing, shelter, etc, and I just don't know what I'm missing (other than crappier voice quality, speakers, vocal pickup, no audible voice feedback, random disconnects and generally crappy service coverage, etc, etc).

Re:No longer required.. (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575057)

the vocal pickup can actually be better on cell phones. there is a lot of compute power in the cell handsets and some of them use it cancel background noise. very few landline phones have this feature.

Re:No longer required.. (3, Insightful)

leoxx (992) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574927)

Don't be absurd. Cell phones as a necessity is only true in countries where there is little to no telecommunications infrastructure. In north america one can easily get by without a cell phone, and I do so every single day.

Re:No longer required.. (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575045)

In Finland there is an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, and yet mobile phones are necessities. For example, some new apartment blocks lack doorbells, since when you reach the outside door it is expected that you can phone your acquaintance to let him know you are waiting to enter. Payphones were generally phased out years ago, with only a handful left in the very centre of Helsinki for tourists. Then there is the whole social issue, sometimes people just don't want to deal with you if you don't have a mobile.

Re:No longer required.. (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575063)

"Don't be absurd. Cell phones as a necessity is only true in countries where there is little to no telecommunications infrastructure. In north america one can easily get by without a cell phone, and I do so every single day."

I like how you guys are dumb enough to argue this with two different definitions of 'necessity'.

Re:No longer required.. (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575075)

Cell Phones have become a necessity, like it or not.


No, they haven't. Folks like Verizon/Cingular/whomever have spent millions convincing people that cell phones are a necessity when in reality they are not. As the poster above you intimated, there are those who get along quite well without a cell phone and for whom one is not remotely necessary.

The vast majority of people who think they need a cell phone are the same ones I hear in a grocery store or mall having the following conversation:

"Uh huh. Yeah. We saw that. I told her not to do it but she don't lis'n. Uh huh. Yeaahhh. I like dat. Oops! Sorry, didn't see you there. Just ran into something because I'm talking to you. Heh heh."

There are very, very, VERY few people who specifically need a cell phone. Those that think they need one would be very surprised to find out how few "necessity" calls they make in a week if they would keep track of their calls.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574879)

Do plans in the states really need to be multi-year? Here in Canada, you generally only have to sign up for a long term contract if you want a handset discount. With the rate that people replace them, I'm sure it couldn't be that hard to buy a cheap used phone (say $30 or less) and activate it without a long term contract.

Still sucks that payphones are going. I needed to use one last night, and I'm glad it was there. Though, they seem to have raised the cost from 25 cents to 50 cents, which is stupid.

Re:No longer required.. (3, Insightful)

Average (648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574903)

In the US, at least, a new handset for prepaid (Tracfone) goes for $15 plus sales tax. You can get a year's worth of operation for $80 (if you buy a $20 card quarterly) or $100 (for more minutes than that). Minutes that you use are much cheaper than the 50 cents + long distance for a payphone call.

Plus, any cellphone can call 911, activated or not. Lots of working ones for $3.99 with a charger at my local Goodwill.

Not saying it's a good deal, or that I can't understand not wanting to bother with one. But, they aren't that expensive in this country.

Canada on the other hand doesn't have anything nearly as affordable as Tracfone (or I would get one for use when I'm traveling there).

Even Worse... (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575093)

Even worse, where are pranksters supposed to phone in bomb threats from? You can't do it from your cell phone, they will find you right away. OMG IT'S BIG BROTHER'S DOING!

Re:No longer required.. (5, Informative)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575099)

Give me a break. You can (at least in the area of the US in which I reside) walk into virtually any store and walk out with a contractless cell phone, quite cheaply. It shouldn't matter *too* much if the per-minute charges are somewhat high as, if your "example" would be correct, they don't want it in the first place, there-by meaning they'd hardly be using it as it is.

Hell, just looking at AT&T's web site (side note: MAN I hate this company -- if they do purchase DishNetwork, I'm switching to DirecTV...), you can get a damned "goPhone" for a whopping $10(!) and there are two access plans. Either an access plan that is $1 per day (you ONLY get charged the "access fee" of $1 on a day that you actually make a call) + 10 cents per minute, OR, a fee where the minutes are 25 cents.

By MY calculations, that does not qualify as "not-insignificant number of dollars on a handset", nor does it qualify for "they can pay (exorbitantly) as they go."

Next time, you might actually, ohh, I dunno, try backing up your statements with some facts? Wait.. I forgot. This is slashdot.

Just because you hate the cell phone companies (the only thing I can assume from your attitude) doesn't mean that they are out to lock you into multi-year expensive plans in an effort to not provide you adequate service and empty your wallet. It just means you haven't done your homework. Hell, it took me 2 minutes to find AT&T's rates. I'm sure other carriers have pricing similar (T-Mobile probably being one of the better carriers).

I'm really not trying to bait you into a flamewar, nor am I trying to be a troll. There are plenty of reasons to hate the telephone companies, so why make up more?

And what about those who either choose not to have a cellphone, or can't afford one? Not everyone is willing to dedicate themselves to multi-year plans, or spend a not-insignificant number of dollars on a handset so they can pay (exhorbitantly) as they go.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575107)

I don't know how it is in the US, but in Finland cell phone connections are dirt cheap. If you use your phone seldomly or only for emergencies, it costs virtually nothing. I think my last bill was around 5 euros or something ($7). There's a dizzying amount of different plans and packages, some of which allow you to talk free of charge under certain conditions, or give you tons of free air time.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

Polysick (926605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575169)

As an example, my cell phone costs 70$US per month. I use it a lot (especially for work) so I really don't have another option.

Re:No longer required.. (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575209)

If you can't afford a cellphone, then you need to work harder at your day job: making buggy whips.

Or those... (2, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575321)

Who choose not to have a cellphone because they:

  1. Don't like the ability of the government to track their whereabouts, or
  2. Don't want to enable the government to surrepititiously monitor their conversations, even when they're not talking on the phone.
  3. Don't feel like being part of the my-employer/wife/etc-has-me-on-a-leash culture.

I only reluctantly got a cellphone a few years ago. AFAIC, they're as close to a travesty as one can get; they've got more computing power than a PC did a decade ago, but are even less usable than the GI Joe walkie talkies I played with as a child. (I believe the audio was clearer.)

Re:No longer required.. (4, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574859)

Oh its about profit...ok..
Well... yes, yes it is. AT&T are a business, profit is their general goal.

Even if someone won't lend you a cellphone in case you run off with it, just go into a building and ask if you can use their landline. Most people are pretty reasonable. OK... some people are pretty reasonable. But even if you had to try two or three places it's hardly a big deal for this life-and-death call you just have to make, right?

That is, unless you find yourself alone without a cellphone in the middle of nowhere. But then again there probably wouldn't be a pay phone there anyway.

Re:No longer required.. (3, Insightful)

in2mind (988476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575333)

Even if someone won't lend you a cellphone in case you run off with it, just go into a building and ask if you can use their landline.
Its not about running away with their phone..Its about a call to a person about whom the owner has no idea & in case any trouble,the phone owner will be the first to face it.

just go into a building and ask if you can use their landline. Most people are pretty reasonable. OK... some people are pretty reasonable. But even if you had to try two or three places it's hardly a big deal for this life-and-death call you just have to make, right?
Thats when assuming there are always buildings around you, open & welcoming you at Night anywhere!

Re:No longer required.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574987)

But if you find yourself without cellphone in a situation,would some stranger lend you his for a call you want to make?

Uh, yeah. Where do you live, bastardland?

Re:No longer required.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575003)

I've had people (strangers) from out of state lend me their cell while I was barefoot in the ER waiting to be seen, so yes, at least some of them will.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575049)

Of course, replace phone booths wiht a nice soundproof booth that has a quick charger, and maybe a reception booster of some sort, etc. and a seat. Still pay for booth time, but you get a quick charge of your cell battery and better reception, as well as some privacy and the ability to hear your conversation....

Re:No longer required.. (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575279)

Of course, replace phone booths wiht a nice soundproof booth that has a quick charger, and maybe a reception booster of some sort, etc. and a seat. Still pay for booth time, but you get a quick charge of your cell battery and better reception, as well as some privacy and the ability to hear your conversation....

As well as peace and quiet for everyone else who would rather not know anything about your personal life.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575085)

Actually, I find it easier to find a stranger to bum a call off of than to find a pay phone to use. Add this to the list of things I'll have to explain to my kid when she's older.

Re:No longer required.. (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575091)

..Because there are cellphone everywhere? But if you find yourself without cellphone in a situation,would some stranger lend you his for a call you want to make?

Oh its about profit...ok..
This is the situation in Denmark. There are practically no pay phones, so if your battery dies you effectively have to lend a cell phone from someone to make a call. Cell phones are cheap here, though, so people usually go along with this.

Not sure it would be as easy in the US, where cell phones are more expensive. Keep your batteries charged :)

Mark it, dude. (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574695)

We just had a "buggy whip" moment. And it's only accelerating.

Welcome to the singularity.

Re:Mark it, dude. (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574835)

Either you have no idea what "the singularity" actually refers to specifically, or you are painting with brush strokes about 100 miles wide.

Oh, come along now! (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574949)

When I lead with a Lebowski quote, are you really expecting deep thought?

That said, this is a momentous, well, moment. (BTW, that's an indirect Austin Powers reference.)

(Thanks for killing the joke.)

farewell, anonymity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574697)

Oh look, a violent crime. Better go to the nearest payphone and report it so I don't get roped in to the case just 'cos I'm concerned about someone being beaten to a pulp.

Oh, no payphone.

Re:farewell, anonymity (5, Insightful)

vhold (175219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574771)

This was my first thought as well. Case in point: A friend of mine used a pay phone to report a car being broken into, and when they asked for his name he just said "Nope" and hung up. The cops arrived shortly thereafter and caught the thief in the act. He would not have made that call on his phone.

+1 GP (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574887)

Every year that passes it gets more and more difficult to communicate without being monitored.

Re:+1 GP (2, Insightful)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575129)

What, you think it's impossible for "them" to put cameras up near pay phones? In other words, if someone wants to monitor you, it's already a done deal. Don't kid yourself into thinking that someone cannot find out who used a payphone to make a certain call. With enough resources (and I'd bet AT&T and the NSA have it) you cannot be anonymous. Do you really think those payphones at airports aren't monitored closely?

I dunno, I think getting rid of payphones isn't so bad. If there's a market for them, someone else can provide the service. I really think the market is drying up. Why should any company go to an expense to meet the demands of something there is little to no market for? Doesn't make any sense.

Re:+1 GP (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575235)

And if I am wearing a mask and gloves when I use said pay phone?

Re:+1 GP (2, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575317)

What, you think it's impossible for "them" to put cameras up near pay phones? In other words, if someone wants to monitor you, it's already a done deal. Don't kid yourself into thinking that someone cannot find out who used a payphone to make a certain call. With enough resources (and I'd bet AT&T and the NSA have it) you cannot be anonymous. Do you really think those payphones at airports aren't monitored closely?

The real question:

Is my using a pay phone really worth the time and expense for At&T or NSA to figure out who I am?

Pay phones make it more expensive for whoever would like to track you, using a cellphone makes it easy and cheap for them.

Re:farewell, anonymity (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574813)

Pay phones are still present. AT&T just won't be in charge of them. Verizon still has quite a few of them.

Re:farewell, anonymity (1)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574955)

Let's not forget that this gives opportunity to smaller companies that still will have payphones available. Maybe not as many as you are used to but still having them. Their use is not yet lost.

Re:farewell, anonymity (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575239)

Good point. But don't you still have the option of not testifying in an eventual court case?

Re:farewell, anonymity (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575287)

Good point. But don't you still have the option of not testifying in an eventual court case?


In the USA, you're protected against giving testimony that's damaging to yourself (or your spouse). This same protection does not apply to testimony damaging to OTHERS. So yes, you could be required to testify or risk jail or fines for contempt of court.


-b.

Re:farewell, anonymity (1)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575249)

Yah, I would think that the FCC/FTC/some oversight body would make payphones a requirement for operating telephones in the US? They should be looking out for the public's best interest. It seems like payphones have a great public benefit, especially for the poor.

I wonder what it would take to start a private payphone business (using AT&T/Verizon service, and putting your own payphones into the wild). I can't see payphones as being very profitable...I wonder if Congress would ever consider funding such a thing...

Reid

Bound to happen (1)

Quato (132194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574701)

Everybody and their dog has a cell phone now. I think the last time I used a pay phone was the day I decided to get a cell phone.

Re:Bound to happen (2, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574763)

My dog has two cell phones, thank you very much.

Re:Bound to happen (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575167)

Both of my cats each have a cell phone. I am getting one for my hamster too.

Re:Bound to happen (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575067)

My 76 year old dad has neither a cell phone nor a computer, and he likes it that way!

I'm reminded of my mother's dad, who still used the outhouse even after my Uncle installed plumbing and a bathroom. "I lived [n] years without [plumbing/cell phones] and I don't need one now!

I can just see when I hit 90. "Damn it, I lived 90 years without a matter replicator or a transporter and I don't need one now!"

-mcgrew

not a surprise (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574727)

Death of an era, really.
As TFA says though, almost anyone and everyone has a wireless handset. I recent switched to a PP cell myself.
That's the real key... Pay phones were anonymous, with Pre-paid you can pay cas for the phone ans sim, using bogus info where needed. You can still be invisible.
-nB

Re:not a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574907)

with Pre-paid you can pay cas for the phone ans sim, using bogus info where needed. You can still be invisible.

Right. Aside from the video camera in the store, and the fact that your prepaid phone spends a lot of time in your home and office.

Re:not a surprise (1)

superswede (729509) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575325)

...and the complete network of calls you make to people you know etc. With a log of such calls it will be quite easy to track your "anonymous" phone/SIM down.

Hang on... (4, Informative)

greyworld (802114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574729)

Bell did not invent the telephone. It was Antonio Meucci!

Re:Hang on... (1)

Polysick (926605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574865)

but Bell was the first one to make a device that transmitted clear speech.

Re:Hang on... (2, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574957)

Riiight... and next you're going to tell me that Christopher Columbus wasn't the first person to discover the Americas, that there's a NEW Mexico, that there's no Santa Claus...

Re:Hang on... (1)

greyworld (802114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575319)

Not sure about the Columbus one, many people would disagree. But it doesnt much interest me. However, The Bell/Meucci thing does - as the post after your rather silly one says, its not that clear - Last week I was at Ericcson in Stockholm, and they showed me their first handsets, based on the work of Meucci..

Re:Hang on... (2, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575101)

The history of the invention of the telephone is a confusing claim and counterclaim, further worsened by the lawsuits which hoped to resolve the patent claims of individuals. It is important to note that there is no one "inventor of the telephone", though Alexander Graham Bell is often credited as such, and the Italian Antonio Meucci was recognized by US Congress on 11th June 2002 for his contributions to inventing a telephone. The modern telephone is the result of work done by many people, all worthy of recognition of their contributions to the field. Bell was the first to patent the telephone, an "apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically", 16 years after Antonio Meucci, who did not have sufficient funds to file a patent, demonstrated his "teletrofono" in New York in 1860.
-Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

-mcgrew

Re:Hang on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575271)

i knew some idiot was going to bring this debate up. Bell invented the phone... debate done.

That's how I switched (4, Insightful)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574733)

When I moved to Atlanta in summer of 2004, it was the lack of pay phones in Midtown that finally made me purchase a cell phone. Had there been easily accessible pay phones in the city, I would most likely still rely on them. I wonder whether we'll see a significant increase in cell phone subscription now, or whether there aren't enough crazy luddites like me left anymore.

Re:That's how I switched (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574881)

When I moved to Atlanta in summer of 2004, it was the lack of pay phones in Midtown that finally made me purchase a cell phone. [...] I wonder whether we'll see a significant increase in cell phone subscription now, or whether there aren't enough crazy luddites like me left anymore.
You mean you were a crazy luddite ~3 years ago. It's a lot more difficult now, believe me. It's almost a personal hair-shirt thing by this point. And yet people still say to me, "You don't have a cell phone? You're so lucky!".

wireless access points any one? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21574743)

keep the phone add dsl to the line and a wifi connection - good to go.

911! (1)

smartaleckkill (1161259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574745)

emergency calls?

Took them long enough. (4, Funny)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574753)

It's about phreaking time.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

wiz31337 (154231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574999)

I can't believe you didn't get modded funny, you get a +1 funny in my book.

Re:Took them long enough. (1)

michrech (468134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575205)

Ha.. I see what you did there. Good one on you, sir!

It's about phreaking time.

+1, Trout (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575293)

Where are the mods when you need them?

Not a real big issue, (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574761)

I find that most of the pay phone I've seen in and around my area, are either defaced with either gum or other crap, missing the handset all together, or broken (with the phone intact). With the advent of cells phones, becoming a necessity these days, do pay phones really much matter? I think not.

turning over to independent operators, that is. (5, Informative)

mgoren (73073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574769)

At least according to AT&T, the phones aren't just going to disappear. What the article says is that AT&T is getting out of the pay phone business, turning some or all of their phones over to independent operators.

Re:turning over to independent operators, that is. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574855)

At least according to AT&T, the phones aren't just going to disappear. What the article says is that AT&T is getting out of the pay phone business, turning some or all of their phones over to independent operators.

The phones are feasable for them and they would rather concentrate on where the money is. Nothing is stopping your local convenience store from installing one, and the advantage there is that at least you have greater chances of having them work, since they are less likely to defaced or vandalised.

Because revenue is declining, or because... (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574793)

Or is it because it is harder for them to eagerly hand over the identities of the callers to the concerned and not-so-concerned officials?

Re:Because revenue is declining, or because... (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574959)

Take off the tin foil hat man. They are not going to take down every pay phone they are going to let other companies use them. If you bothered to RTFA.

AT&T said that it will continue to sell wholesale pay-phone service to independent operators, and it expects them to pick up some of its business.
So please try not to stir up slashdot with the whole "the government is out to get me". This is a business decision. So if in a few years Walmart were to notice that the number of cash transactions drops to close to 0 so they reduce the number of cash lanes to 1 and the rest are credit only, will you say that walmart is just trying to hand the government the identities of its customers?

I hope BT doesn't follow suit (4, Funny)

MSBob (307239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574823)

The British Telecom phone booths look really nice not to mention all the handy hooker ads inside :-)

Re:I hope BT doesn't follow suit (3, Funny)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575197)

The British Telecom phone booths look really nice not to mention all the handy hooker ads inside :-
Not to mention the problems it would create for Doctor Who.

Profit != Bad (5, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574851)

People are treating ATT like the scum of the Earth here, which they may be in their mobile business, but I can't see why expecting to break even is such an evil goal.

Pay phones here in Canada are up to $1 a call now, ridiculous, when it was a quarter merely a few years before. The downturn in usage means increased cost per call for the few people that still use them, which drives a cycle that forces everyone to get some sort of cell phone.

Both my brother (an academic) and my mother have pay-as-you-go plans, which cost them about $120 a year. That's really not too bad, considering they're light users. They enjoy the convenience of a cell phone, and also the security from being able to call emergency services wherever they may be, as opposed to having to locate the nearest (dwindling number) payphones.

I simply do not see pay phones as having any further use to our society. They were important pieces of technology from a bygone era, that's all.

Re:Profit != Bad (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575081)

Pay phones here in Canada are up to $1 a call now, ridiculous, when it was a quarter merely a few years before.

$1? Where do you live? For payphones regulated by the CRTC (ie the incumbent local carrier, Bell Canada in Ontario & Quebec, Telus in BC & Alberta, etc), payphones are 50 cents max.

Or is this one of those no-name payphones?

what about (1)

axxaxxo (995870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574945)

the public telephone sanitizers? Time to start looking for a new job I guess...

Re:what about (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575207)

"Oh, you're all a lot of useless idiots!"

"Oh yes! That was the reason!"

Payphones became worthless when... (1, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21574961)

...they muted the speaker so the red box wouldn't work anymore.

Presumably (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575055)

One could buy all the payphones, stick a wireless access point in them and an ADSL port on the other end of the line.

Hmmmm... With the dollar going off the cliff I might just be able to afford it.
 

Interesting (2, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575159)

AT&T continues to maintain it's Telephone Lease Program, but no longer maintains pay phones.

How absurd. Did I mention I hate those bastards? I decided to give them a try, especially given their "30-day money back guarantee". I'd heard they had improved, they were a new company, my slashdot posting history aside. I found out two days later that I would be getting the same, standard 6/768 DSL they give everyone, not some new 8meg/2meg package the sales rep sold me on.

Cancelled immediately. AT&T issued a bill for $100. Settled for $50. For 3 days of service, even with a "money back guarantee".

So much for giving them a second chance. I'll never, ever, ever, ever do business with AT&T again. For any reason. To the end of my days. Those bastards will never, ever change.

creators to disempower unprecedented evile (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575183)

none too soon for many of US. imagine an end to the scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys propoganda being spewed forth by the corepirate nazi execrable 24/7 on all of yOUR 'mainstream' media?

no gadgets required. no payper liesense hostage agreedment. see you there?

meanwhile: unprecedented evile never sleeps

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/02/AR2007120201637.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 [washingtonpost.com]

however, its task becomes less daunting when its minions are at 'work', emptying yOUR pockets.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/03/us.debt.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

micro management of populations has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster.

we're intending (do not underestimate the power of intentions) for the corepirate nazis to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather'.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com] [google.com]

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

fortunately there's an 'army' of angels, coming yOUR way

do not be afraid/dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way), there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

beware the illusionary smoke&mirrors.con

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, is it (literally) ground hog (as in dead meat) day, again? many of US are obviously not aware of how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

we still haven't read (here) about the 2/3'rds of you kids who are investigating/pursuing a spiritual/conscience/concious re-awakening, in amongst the 'stuff that matters'? another big surprise?

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

This cell-phone reserved for Clark Kent (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575223)

doesn't have the same ring as "this phone boot reserved for Clark Kent".

Wow! (1)

sirgoran (221190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575331)

What about all those movie story lines where they show them on a pay-phone or in a phone booth?
Talk about an end of an era!
It was bad enough when Superman lost his changing room, but now to have lost them all together...
Now where are people going to steal phone book pages from?!

It truly is a sad day indeed.

-Goran
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