December 3, 2007
is reporting that AT&T will quit payphone business by 2008 due to competition from cell phones. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the number of pay phones nationally has dwindled to 1 million as of 2006 from 2.08 million in 1997. My only question is "What took so long for AT&T to drop payphones?"
I honestly haven't used a payphone since 1992 and before I even had a cell phone. When I drive by pay phones they are usually not being used, unless you're in the "shadier" parts of some towns. Payphones became a popular tool for drug dealers to have anonymity when making drug deals.
Informants also used payphones, like Arnold "Sporty" James from the TV show Hunter
-- one of my all-time favorites.
Law enforcement couldn't track a drug deal to a house address - only the payphone. Well, I guess anonymous calls via pay phones are soon to become but a footnote in history. Of course, those pesky criminals always find a way, like using Skype's encryption to foil German law enforcement officials