Phone booth service to end in Germany after 142 years in operation

Deutsche Telekom announced today that after 142 years of operation, the country's telephone booths will end their service. Currently, 12,000 phone booths are still operating in Germany, but after today, the company will stop using the coin-operated payment system, and people can only use phone cards.

Phone cards will also not work in phone booths until the end of January 2023. However, Deutsche Telekom will not remove the last phone booth until at least 2025. In addition, the company said it will leave around 3,000 phone booths, which will be converted into small base stations with small antennas to expand mobile network coverage.

The company decided to take the move as Germany's 2021 Telecommunications Act (Telekommunikationsgesetzes) ends the mandate to operate public telephones. This is because most people already have mobile phones now, obviously, it is more convenient to use mobile phones to make emergency calls.

In 1881, Germany's first so-called "telephone booth" (Fernsprechkiosk) opened in Berlin. In subsequent years, the Federal Postal Service, which existed from 1947 to 1994, managed the booths, when they had a very distinctive yellow appearance.

Telephone booths reached the peak of their popularity in Germany in the mid-1990s, when they could be seen at stations, residential areas, and even on the edge of forests. When Deutsche Telekom later took over the phone booths from the Bundespost, there were 160,000 phone booths in total.

Germany's old yellow telephone booths are hard to find despite their age. There is a lot of interest in old telephone booths, including in some museums, and people can also buy abandoned and used German telephone booths from Deutsche Telekom for about 500 euros 

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