My Observations With Pay Phones

> 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 station.

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.


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Andrew F
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