Red phone boxes put up for “adoption” in the UK

Red phone boxes put up for

Around 3,000 of the familiar red phone boxes popular with tourists still exist in Britain, although smartphones and mobile internet have largely made many of them obsolete. At least as a means of communication: According to the British telecommunications company BT, around 98 percent of the adult British population uses a mobile phone.

Michael Smy, the BT manager responsible, said the number of calls from public payphones is also falling drastically because mobile phone coverage in the country has been significantly improved. The cells that are no longer used would be dismantled. However, this offers an opportunity for municipalities and organizations.

Symbolic price of one pound

So that the “Red Phone Boxes” are not completely lost, BT has now called on communities and organizations across the country to take over and rededicate the telephone boxes for a symbolic price of one pound (equivalent to 1.17 euros). A total of around 1,000 phone booths are currently available for so-called adoption, BT said.

More than 7,200 red phone boxes have been rededicated since 2008, according to BT. Today they house defibrillators, are used as mini-libraries, galleries or greenhouses. As a result, they were preserved, at least in the streetscape.

One of the contributors to this is the Community Heartbeat Trust, a charity that provides electric shock devices for cases of sudden cardiac arrest. Over 700 defibrillator stations have been installed in UK telephone boxes.

According to the company, the background to the new BT campaign is the centenary of the red phone booth next year. It was designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott for a competition in 1924. Overall, around 20,000 public payphones are still in use in the UK, up from around 100,000 at the peak in the 1990s.

Deutsche Telekom got rid of yellow houses

As of November 2022, there were still around 12,000 public phone booths in Germany. Deutsche Telekom had already deactivated coin payments last November. Finally, at the end of January this year, the payment function using telephone cards was deactivated. The entire telecommunications service at the telephone columns has now been discontinued. By 2025, all telephone pillars should be dismantled.

In 2006 there were still 100,000 telephone booths in Germany. The peak was reached in the mid-1990s, when around 160,000 yellow telephone boxes lined German streets. After the privatization of the Deutsche Bundespost, however, the well-known yellow telephone booths were replaced by Deutsche Telekom with gray-white-magenta ones.

The history of telephone booths began 142 years ago in Berlin. The first so-called telephone kiosk was put into operation there in 1881.


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