When was the last time you used a payphone? Since its seems nearly everyone owns a mobile phone these days, the need for coin-operated public phones seems to be dropping quite quickly.

According to Telkom’s Group interim results for the period ended 30 September 2015, the company only has 44 000 payphones left in the country. Whether they are all working or not hasn’t been disclosed.

Telkom payphone
The decline of Telkom’s public payphones [Source – Telkom]
The chart above (click on it to enlarge), clearly shows that the payphone use has been on a steady and rapid decline in the country.

Telkom also added about 40 000 ADSL subscribers to push the provider over a million, reporting that it now has 1 012 416 ADSL subscribers, which saw a 4.2% increase over the last period.

“In addition to achieving excellent growth in our mobile business and in particular in mobile data usage during this period, we also achieved good growth in our ADSL revenue supported by a 4.2 percent increase in our ADSL subscribers. Our new summer campaign was launched in September 2015 and we continue to drive convergence products and pricing in generous data bundles which have assisted us in improving our monthly sales,” it explained.

Other interesting numbers from the Group interim results are:

  • Fixed lines: 3.3 million
  • Revenue per fixed access line: R2 200
  • Telkom Company employees: 14 212
  • LTE sites integrated: 1 381
  • Mobile sites integrated: 2 549
  • Mobile base stations constructed: 2 643
  • Active mobile subscribers: 2.2 million

Even though the number of working payphones have been declining rather drastically, it doesn’t mean that the sites are going to go to waste.

Telkom said in September that it mulling the idea of turning all of the old payphones into WiFi hotspots.

“We would make use of the assets (like the payphones) to do that, so that we don’t have any additional costs. If you use payphones, we would be able to put WiFi in there, and ideally we would like to put it in as many payphones across the country,” explained Prenesh Padayachee, Telkom’s Managing Director for Wholesale Services.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Dave Bledsoe]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.