AT&T Hangs Up Dwindling Pay Phone Business

Monday, 3 Dec 2007 | 10:09 AM ET

Top U.S. phone company AT&Tsaid Monday it plans to end its dwindling pay phone business by the end of 2008, as more consumers use mobile phones.

The move affects AT&T pay phones in the company's previous 13-state service area, including California and Texas.

BellSouth Corp, which AT&T acquired late last year, has already exited the pay phone business in its nine-state service area.

Pay phones in the United States have declined across the industry from about 2.6 million phones in 1998 to an estimated 1 million phones today, AT&T said.

The use of pay phones has been declining in much of the developed world due to the popularity of mobile phones. But some complain that ending pay phone service restricts low-income, low-credit consumers' access to communications.

AT&T has grown its profit in recent years, as strong sales from its mobile phone and Internet business make up for a fall in traditional phone use.

  Price   Change %Change


Contact Mobile


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More
  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.